Understanding New York Histories Through Indigenous Art

Gwen Saul, curator of the Ethnographic Collections at the New York State Museum in Albany, stands next to a painting by Carson Waterman, one of the Seneca Nation’s most prominent contemporary artists. Photo courtesy Gwen Saul/New York State Museum

Gwen Saul, Curator of Ethnographic Collections at the New York State Museum, to Give Free Talk Nov. 19 at Wells College

This November, Wells College welcomes Gwen Saul, curator of ethnography at the New York State Museum in Albany, for a talk entitled, “How Do We Overcome This Troubled Past? Understanding New York Histories through Indigenous Art.”

Her talk is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Hostetter Lecture Hall (Stratton 209) on the Wells College campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Gwen Saul is curator of the Ethnographic Collections at the New York State Museum (NYSM), which include over 3,500 objects of Native American art and material culture from Indigenous communities across North America, with an emphasis on the Eastern Woodlands. In addition to managing the care and preservation of the collection, she works with citizens of Indigenous nations across what is now New York state to curate and develop the NYSM Contemporary Native American Art Collection.

Her talk will feature a selection of contemporary Native art from the NYSM Ethnographic Collections that elucidates Indigenous histories and issues relevant to all who live in New York state—which sits upon Indigenous land that is central to the histories and continuity of diverse and numerous Indigenous nations.

“An examination of contemporary Indigenous art throughout New York disrupts our preconceived notions of what constitutes Native art and Native history,” said Gwen Saul, who is also planning an upcoming exhibit at the New York State Museum featuring both historic and contemporary Indigenous art. “Understanding New York history means grappling with Indigenous history and examining our relationships with sovereign Indigenous nations,” she added.


About Wells College

Wells College is a nationally recognized private coeducational liberal arts college located in Aurora, New York, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Wells, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, helps students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to build their confidence and create their own unique path in life. With dozens of majors and minors available in the sciences, arts, humanities and preprofessional programs, Wells provides a purposeful curriculum and an immersive educational experience that is steeped in tradition. Students can also take advantage of 13 NCAA Division III athletic teams, 18 study-abroad programs; over 40 student-led organizations and clubs; and cross-registration agreements with Cornell University, Ithaca College, Cayuga Community College and Tompkins Cortland Community College. More at wells.edu.

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