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Altars of Reconciliation
May 13 - September 10Free
Why would Native Americans believe in the religion of the invaders? This is a question the artists in this exhibition have been confronted with many times. As Native people who are Christians, we sense a deep paradox when asked this question.
Why DO we believe in the Gospel of the invaders, the so-called “white man’s religion”? This is the internal struggle that this exhibition chooses to address. Told within the context of a history of deeply ingrained Christian practice among generations of Native peoples, we face the tensions created in our lives by the faith we practice. In Altars of Reconciliation, viewers experience contemporary, Native-themed altarpieces of sacred art, personal in their stories but universal in their struggle with eternal questions.
Our intent for this show specifically is to explore a theme rarely confronted in the art world: the practice of Christianity among Native peoples. There is and continues to be a long, rich and layered history of Native churches and Christian tradition, but there is an equally long sense of tension and conflict among tribal peoples about questions of faith. Often framed as a “Christian vs. Traditionalist” dichotomy, the real story is not nearly so clear-cut. By facing our own faith struggles and transformations through these ‘altarpieces,’ our desire is to bring about healthy discussion and awareness of how Christianity has played a historic (and continuing) role among our Native peoples, and in the bigger picture, to engage people in thinking about the role of faith in their own lives.