For over four decades Charles and Valerie Diker have been ardent collectors and supporters of Native American art, encouraging the appreciation of these objects for the pure aesthetic pleasures they provide and for their cultural value.
Their collection of Native American art, one of the largest and most comprehensive in private hands, has traveled the country as part of the exhibition Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection organized by the American Federation of Arts.
When the show comes to the Toledo Museum of Art – the only stop in the Midwest and the last public venue where it will be seen – the Dikers will be in Toledo for a Masters Series presentation at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Peristyle. Joining them in a conversation about Native American art will be the exhibition’s guest curator David W. Penney, an internationally recognized scholar of American Indian art whose publications include “North American Indian Art” (2004), part of the Thames & Hudson “World of Art” series. Penney is associate director of museum scholarship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, and formerly was curator of Native American art and vice president of exhibitions and collections strategies at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Brian Kennedy, director of the Toledo Museum of Art, will be the moderator.
Free and open to the public, the Masters Series is sponsored by the Museum Ambassadors and Yark Automotive Group.
The presentation is one of several events planned in conjunction with the special touring exhibition Indigenous Beauty, which is on view Feb. 12-May 8 in the Canaday Gallery.
The free, public opening celebration on Feb. 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. will begin with a ceremony led by representatives of American Indian communities with ancestral ties to Ohio, including Chief Glenna J. Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, visual artist Richard Zane Smith of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma and tribal historic preservation officer Paul Barton of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma.
Drawn from Native American art collected by Charles and Valerie Diker, Indigenous Beauty features more than 120 masterworks representing native communities across the North American continent.
Organized by the American Federation of Arts, the exhibition is made possible nationally by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the JFM Foundation and Mrs. Donald M. Cox.
Its showing in Toledo is made possible by 2016 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica, Dorothy MacKenzie Price, Taylor Cadillac and members of the Museum.
Admission to the Museum and to the exhibition is free. Free programs planned in conjunction with the exhibition include:
Masters Series: Charles and Valerie Diker with David W. Penney
Feb. 11: 6 p.m., Peristyle
The Toledo Museum of Art’s Masters Series continues with a conversation between collectors of Native American art Charles and Valerie Diker and David W. Penney, guest curator of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection. Brian Kennedy, director of the Museum, will moderate. The Masters Series is sponsored by the Museum Ambassadors and Yark Automotive Group.
Opening Celebration: Indigenous Beauty
Feb. 12: 6-9 p.m., Canaday Gallery
Celebrate the opening of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection at the Toledo Museum of Art. The touring exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts features 120 extraordinary works by Native peoples across North America. The evening will begin with a 6 p.m. ceremony led by representatives of American Indian communities with ancestral ties to Ohio, including Chief Glenna J. Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, visual artist Richard Zane Smith (Wyandot of Kansas), tribal historic preservation officers Paul Barton of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma and Diane Hunter of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and Jamie Oxendine, director of the Black Swamp Intertribal Foundation. Dancers and singers from the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, will perform during the 6 p.m. ceremony and then again at 7 and 8 p.m.
Exhibition Tour: David W. Penney
Feb. 13: 2 p.m., Canaday Gallery
David W. Penney, an internationally recognized scholar of American Indian art and guest curator of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection, leads a public tour of the exhibition. Penney contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue and is author of “North American Indian Art” (2004), part of the Thames & Hudson “World of Art” series. Currently associate director of museum scholarship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, he previously served as curator of Native American art and vice president of exhibitions and collections strategies at the Detroit Institute of Arts where he led the creation of one of the nation’s finest Native American collections. His previous exhibitions have included Ancient Art of the American Woodland Indians (1985), Art of the American Indian Frontier, the Chandler/Pohrt Collection (1993–94) and The American Indian: Art and Culture between Myth and Reality (2012).
AIA-Toledo Society Lecture: Melissa Baltus, Art, Architecture, and Urbanization of Cahokia, Native North America’s First City
Feb. 19: 7 p.m., Little Theater
Every urban center, past and present, has a flavor that is unique to that particular place. The pre-Columbian Native American city of Cahokia (A.D. 1050-1350), located in the floodplain of the Mississippi River near modern-day St. Louis, was no different. The largest city north of Mexico, Cahokia had a unique architectural style that flourished early in the city’s history and was widely emulated. Melissa Baltus, an assistant professor and archaeologist in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Toledo, will discuss archaeologists’ understanding thus far of the art and architecture of Cahokia, its role in the creation of an urban space, as well as implications of stylistic changes during the waning years of Cahokia.
Reading: Margaret Noodin, Weweni: Poems in Anishinaabemowin and English
April 9: 2 p.m., Little Theater
Margaret Noodin is an American poet who writes in English and the language of the Anishinaabe, which is spoken by members of the Odawa, Ojibwa and Algonquin peoples. She is an assistant professor of English and American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Western Michigan University.
Lecture: Stephen Warren, Indian Removal Then and Now: A Retrospective on Race and Midwestern Identities
March 26: 2 p.m., Little Theater
In 1824, Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton announced that the Indians “must know that . . . the power of the state is against them; and that, sooner or later, they must go.” In response, Native Ohioans sought to remain in their homeland by adopting cash-crop agriculture, converting to Christianity and accepting other, dramatic changes in their cultures. That they were removed from their homelands in spite of their efforts shocked many Americans then and now. Stephen Warren, an associate professor of history at the University of Iowa, will describe this history, discuss how indigenous peoples have tried in recent decades to reconnect with their Ohio homelands and explore ongoing challenges to those efforts. The author of The Worlds the Shawnee Made: Migration and Violence in Early America, Warren is the lead historian on a federally funded grant sponsored by the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma (2013-2016). He also is involved in collaborative projects with the Ohio Historical Society and with the 10 federally recognized tribes removed from Ohio prior to the Civil War. He previously served as a consultant and commentator on the WGBH/American Experience documentary “Tecumseh’s Vision.”
Events are subject to change.