Indigenous Art. Indigenous perspectives.

Teri Greeves, New Mexico Art Museum

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By America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), March 24, 2013

Teri Greeves

Teri Greeves (Kiowa) addresses a packed house at the New Mexico Art Museum, Santa Fe, 2013

Sleepy Santa Fe is waking up from its winter hibernation! Finally, there are more art shows and art talks to lure us out of our caves. The New Mexico Museum of Art is hosting Alcove Shows 12.9 as part of its annual cycle of five-artist, five-week solo exhibits, which features Kiowa beadwork artist Teri Greeves, who shared a public talk about her work Friday, March 22.

The New Mexico Museum of Art has been a longtime supporter of Indigenous artists. By showcasing Native art in mixed shows, the museum recontextualizes the work and exposes it to new audiences.

Greeves exhibited her large–scale bead mosaics on raw silk. These simultaneously feature 21st-century individuals from Kiowa society and timeless figures from Kiowa oral history, such as Spider Woman, modeled after Greeves’ own mother, who cared for the Half Boys, modeled after Greeves’ sons.

Speaking to an attentive crowd of art lovers, Greeves explained the stories behind her works and further explained how she uses the beautiful aesthetics of beadwork—the colors, the reflective qualities of light—to lure audiences in who might not be otherwise willing to learn more about Kiowa, and by extensive Indigenous, histories, that contain experiences of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

When asked why she doesn’t include facial features in her work, Greeves responded that she didn’t care about her beaded faces and wanted instead to convey information through body language in her figures—a slouch, a haughty posture.

Even though beads are considered a customary art form today, they were cutting-edge technology introduced from Europe in past centuries. “We incorporate new technologies as soon as we’re given it,” Greeves says. “That’s survival.”

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