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Past Exhibitions

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Boy's Shirt

Child’s jacket, ca. 1880, Apsáalooke (Crow), Montana, hide, glass beads, 14 x 30 in., Diker no. 846, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​​​​​

Indigenous Beauty

Feb 12 – May 17 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

This spring, Seattle has the opportunity to see some of the most stunning works of American Indian art ever made.

Marvel at nearly 2,000 years of amazing skill and invention. Linger over drawings, sculptures, baskets, beaded regalia, and masks.

The immense variety of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection reflects the diversity of Native cultures. This superb exhibition offers more than great works of art and cultural artifacts—it is an invitation to explore other worlds.

Deeply engaged with cultural traditions and the land, indigenous artists over the centuries have used art to represent and preserve their ways of life. Even during the 19th and 20th centuries, when drastic changes were brought by colonization, artists brilliantly adapted their talents and used the new materials available to them to marvelous effect.

The works in Indigenous Beauty will inspire wonder, curiosity, and delight. Come experience the vast beauty of indigenous art from all across North America.

The guest curator for this exhibition is David Penney. Local curator is Barbara Brotherton, Curator of Native American Art at the Seattle Art Museum.

Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection is organized by the American Federation of Arts. This exhibition was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the JFM Foundation, and Mrs. Donald M. Cox.
American Federation of Arts

Western Arctic


snow GOGGLES, 5th–10th c., Ipiutak, Alaska, wood, walrus ivory, 1 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 1 in., Diker no. 774, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​

Inuit Man with Snow Goggles

Anavik at Banks Peninsula, Bathurst Inlet, Northwest Territories (Nunavut), May 18, 1916, Photo by Rudolph Martin Anderson, Canadian, 1876–1961, Canadian Museum of Civilization, 39026.​​

Yup'ik Mask

MASK, 1916–18, Yup'ik, Hooper Bay, Alaska, wood, pigment, vegetal fiber, 20 1/​2 x 14 x 8 in., Diker no. 788, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​​​

Eastern Subarctic

Man's Summer Coat

MAN’S SUMMER COAT, ca. 1840, Naskapi, Labrador, hide, pigment, 41 1/2 x 69 1/4 in., Diker no. 490, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​​​​​​

northwest Coast​​

Oyster Catcher

​​Oystercatcher Rattle, 2011, Preston Singletary, Tlingit, b. 1963, blown and sand-carved glass, human hair, 22 x 17 x 6 in., Diker no. 826, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​

Great Bas​in and California​


Basket jar, ca. 1885, Chemehuevi, Southern California, Arizona or Nevada, willow, devil's claw, 12 1/4 x 15 1/2 in., Diker no. 412, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​


White Ogre Kachina

QQötsa Nata’aska Katsina, 1910–1930, Hopi, Arizona, cottonwood, cloth, hide, metal, pigment, 18 1/2 x 6 x 10 in., Diker no. 831, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​​​​​

Clay Pot

Jar, 1918–19, Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1887–1980 and Julian Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1879–1943, clay, slip, 9 7/8 x 14 5/8 in, Diker no. 305, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​​​

Martinez Pot Makers

Julian and Maria Martinez displaying finished pottery, San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico, ca. 1937–38 (?). Photo by Wyatt Davis, Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe (004591).

Plate​au and Plains​

Maternal Journey

Maternal Journey, 2010, Rhonda Holy Bear, Cheyenne River Sioux, b. 1960, wood, gesso, paint, clay, cotton, wool, metal, aluminum wire, glass beads, brain-tanned buckskin, rawhide, fur, hair, feathers, 31 x 42 in., Diker no. 816, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Woman with her travois

Kainai travois, 1910, A. Rafton-Canning, Library and Archives Canada, PA-029769.

Swift Dog

No Two Horns Fights Crow, ca. 1890, Swift Dog, Lakota, ca. 1845–1925, watercolor and ink on paper, 7 1/2 x 12 in., Diker no. 175, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.​​

Swift Dog

Swift Dog, Sioux, 1898, Haskell Indian Nations University, Frank A. Rinehart Historical Photograph Collection, 1.TI.455.115.

Woodlands and Southeast​​

Bandolier Bag

Shoulder bag, ca. 1830, Muscogee (Creek), Georgria or Alabama, wool, glass beads, ribbon, silk tassels, bag: 9 1/8 x 8 7/8 in., strap: 55 3/8 x 4 in., Diker no. 533, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Billy Bowlegs

Seminole Chief, Billy Bowlegs, 1852, State Archives of Florida, RC00958.

Belt Cup

Belt cup, ca. 1820, Anishinaabe, Ottawa or Ojibwa, Ontario or Michigan, wood, nail, lead (?), staple, 6 5/16 x 3 5/8 x 2 in., Diker no. 515, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Fur Traders

French Fur Traders at La Baye, Wisconsin Historical Society, 60960.​​​

 Audio Tour


To learn more about Indigenous Beauty, take home a copy of the exhibition catalogue. Learn more about these amazing works, the artists that created them, and the cultures they came from. With essays by: David W. Penney, associate director of museum scholarship at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.; Janet Catherine Berlo, professor of art history and visual and cultural studies at the University of Rochester; Bruce Bernstein, executive director of the Continuous Pathways Foundation, Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico; Barbara Brotherton, curator of Native American art at the Seattle Art Museum; Joe D. Horse Capture, associate curator at the National Museum of the American Indian; and Susan Secakuku, Hopi curator and consultant for museums and cultural organizations. (Published by the American Federation of Arts with Skira Rizzoli, 2015.)​​

Fur Traders

Exhibition Support

The Seattle presentation is made possible through the support of these funders
American Federation of Arts​​ ​​

Generous Support
ArtsFund/Guendolen Carkeek Plestcheeff
   Fund for the Decorative and Design Arts
The MacRae Foundation
Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS)​ ​

Corporate Sponsor
Perkins Coie LLP​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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Tickets are available online or at the Seattle Ar​t Museum.

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Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM