“Reclaiming Home” at Sarasota’s Ringling Museum Presents Work by Contemporary Seminole Artists

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Jessica Osceola (Seminole/Irish, b. 1984), Portrait One, Portrait Two, and Portrait Three, 2017, bas-relief ceramic, 20 × 38 × 13/16 in. Collection of The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University, purchased with the support of Daniel J. Denton Florida Art Acquisition Fund, 2022. 2022.8.3.

Jessica Osceola (Seminole/Irish, b. 1984), Portrait One, Portrait Two, and Portrait Three, 2017, bas-relief ceramic, 20 × 38 × 13/16 in. Collection of The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University, purchased with the support of Daniel J. Denton Florida Art Acquisition Fund, 2022. 2022.8.3.

The John and Mabel Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota, Florida is presenting a group exhibition titled “Coming Home: Seminole Contemporary Art.” The exhibition runs from March 18 to September 4 at the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Museum Wing.

This exhibition includes over 100 works by twelve Seminole, Miccosukee, and mixed heritage artists from Florida, as well as well-known works by internationally recognized Muskogee (Creek) and Seminole artists from Oklahoma, California, and beyond.

Noah Billie (Seminole, 1948–2000): Seminole Warrior, 1993, acrylic on canvas, 63 1/2 by 52 inches.

“Reclaiming Home” expands on the conceptual basis of Native American art and provides a fuller understanding of art produced by the Seminole diaspora. The Seminole and Miccosookie Tribes of Florida are represented by artists who work or have worked in textiles, film, woodworking, beading, digital drawing, and painting.

Their work offers a closer look at the artists’ life experiences, exploring issues of origin and identity, their relationship with the environment, and interfaith and traditional ways of learning in Florida’s Native communities.

Using photo and digital collage, performance, video, installation, and mixed media techniques, Seminole diaspora artists offer multiple perspectives on themes of memory, history, health, and representation as expressions of indigenous visual sovereignty.

Artists presented in the exhibition include:

  • the late Noah Billie (Seminole);
  •  Wilson Bowers (Seminole);
  •  Houston R. Cypress (Miccosukee);
  •  Elisa Harkins (Cherokee/Muscogee [Creek]);
  •  Alyssa Osceola (Seminole),;
  • Jessica Osceola (Seminole/Irish);
  •  C. Maxx Stevens (Seminole/Muscogee [Creek]);
  •  Tony Tiger (Sac and Fox/Seminole/Muscogee [Creek]);
  • Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie (Taskigi/Diné [Navajo]/Seminole);
  •  Brian Zepeda (Seminole)
  •  Corinne Zepeda (Seminole /Mexican);
  •   Pedro Zepeda (Seminole/Mexican).

As Ringling constantly strives to add work by artists associated with Florida, the museum is presenting a recently acquired three-piece ceramic work by Jessica Osceola. Portrait One, Portrait Two, and Portrait Three (all 2017) are the first works by the Seminole artist to be added to the Ringling Contemporary Art Collection thanks to the generous support of the Daniel J. Denton Art Acquisition Fund of Florida.

Wilson Bowers (Seminole, b. 1985): Fire Feather or Warrior Within, 2020, digital image.

. This exhibition includes several important loans from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of Seminole culture and history, located on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation.

This great art event is supported, in part, by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Endowment, the Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation Endowment, and the Bob and Diane Roskamp Endowment, and sponsored in part by the State of Florida’s Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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