Contemporary American Indian artists display work
August 20, 2002
Dean Barlese has been making traditional American Indian beadwork for more than 30 years, a task he loves despite the several tedious months it takes to complete one item.
“It’s something I really enjoy,” Barlese said. “To me, it’s art.”
Barlese, a member of the Northern Paiute and Warm Springs tribes, makes beaded bags, gloves, wallets, checkbooks and clothes for many American Indians in Northern Nevada.
Next week, a beaded bag and a pair of beaded gauntlets made by Barlese will be on display at the Nevada State Museum along with several other pieces made my American Indian artists in the northern Great Basin.
Both traditional items have been useful to American Indians. Women have used beaded bags to carry items since the 1860s. Even today, Barlese said, many women still carry them around to show off.
The gauntlets, however, are not as popular as they once were.
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“You don’t see too many beaded gauntlets like that,” he said.
“Contemporary Native Artists of the Great Basin” opens Aug. 29, and is the first of several art exhibits that will coincide with the museum’s “Under One Sky” exhibit, a cultural and scientific display about the influence of American Indians in Northern Nevada.
The exhibit will feature both modern art, such as paintings and sculptures, as well as traditional American Indian art, including beadwork and woven baskets, said Ben Aleck, one of the members of the curatorial team choosing the artwork for the exhibit.
The items have been made recently by American Indian artists from the Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone tribes in the northern Great Basin.
“We wanted to show a sample of each tribe,” Aleck said.
Aleck, a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, also will exhibit one of his paintings.
Roslyn Works, the museum’s anthropology publications manager, said the exhibit will be ever changing and feature different artwork every few months.
In January, the exhibit will feature different American Indian artwork, but Works said it is undecided what will be shown.
It could be photographs, cradleboards or a one-artist show, she said.
The changing exhibit will run until the finale of “Under One Sky,” in two years.
IF YOU GO:
What: Contemporary Native Artists of the Great Basin exhibit
Where: Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St.
When: Aug. 29 through Jan. 3, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily
Cost: $3 for adults, $2.50 for seniors and free for children under 18
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