Part of Towards Common Cause
Sweet Bitter Love presents Jeffrey Gibson’s reflections on representations of Indigenous people in cultural institutions. Gibson, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent, responds to nineteenth-century portraits of Indigenous people in the Newberry Library’s collection. His paintings and wallpaper refute ethnographic symbolism with vibrant, glittering layers. Surrounding documentation of ceremonial gifts acquired by the Field Museum in 1991, Gibson’s works question our expectations for what qualifies as cultural artifacts and the institutional practices surrounding their care. As they enter into critical dialogue across the gallery space, these art objects collectively deconstruct myths about Indigenous cultures and attest to Native persistence.
Image: Jeffrey Gibson, Chief Pretty Eagle, 2021, Cotton Rag Paper, Inkjet Print, Vintage Beaded Eyeglass Case (Glass Beads, Polyester, Thread, Suede), Vintage Beaded Barrette (Glass Beads, Polyester, Thread), Vintage Papers, Found Pin, Glass Beads, Glitter, Urethane, Acrylic Paint. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta, Chicago. Photography by John Lusis.