59 Pieces of Southwest Indigenous Pottery Added to TMA Collection
Polychrome Olla, ca. 1475-1550, clay. Gift of the Sublette Family Foundation for the Arts.
Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, a broad range of artwork was added to TMA’s permanent collection in 2020. The works were formally accessioned at a meeting of the Collections Committee in December, and we’re ready to start virtually sharing these exciting new additions with the public. In coming months we’ll start to highlight them in the weekly e-newsletter (scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up), this blog and on Facebook and Instagram. Some of the new acquisitions will be featured in the museum galleries later this year.
An important gift of 59 pieces of Southwest Indigenous pottery came from the Sublette Family Foundation. This collection of pottery enhances TMA’s role as a steward of Indigenous arts. The pieces range in date between 1400 to 1700 and derive mostly from the Rio Grande region of the American Southwest. They are made from natural clays with paints and glazes and include known designs and motifs.
These works broaden the stories and histories TMA’s collection can tell. They reflect Indigenous experiences, enrich the museum’s visual and cultural diversity and offer artistic comparisons of work from the past 500+ years, acting in conversation with other pieces already in the TMA collection.
The museum is committed to collaborative and intersectional approaches for the research and proper exhibition of these items. Staff is working with Indigenous communities and seeking to broaden our understanding of these works in order to be more culturally responsive to best practices for display, interpretation and storage of the works. In fact, the Indigenous Arts Gallery on the lower level of the museum will be completely reinstalled this spring, opening on March 11, 2021. This project has involved extended collaboration with a group of community liaisons, or community curators, to ensure that multiple points of view are represented and that TMA is presenting the works with utmost respect (multivocality and respect are two of TMA’s guiding principles – you can learn more about them in the IDEA Plan released last summer).
When can you see the pottery in person? After concentrated consultation, collaboration and investigation, selections will debut in the Indigenous Arts Gallery later this year. Research on this collection will be ongoing, with plans to display more in the future.