June 10 - September 4
[ala REL + baa INDEF + kuú ‘give’ + ko ‘at’]
2 something left for progeny
An inspiring exhibition at The Brinton Museum that celebrates the multigenerational creativity within one Apsáalooke family, showcasing the artworks of Ben Pease V alongside the artistic journey of eight generations of his Apsáalooke ancestors, relatives, and children.
Situated below the Bighorn Mountains, on traditional Apsáalooke lands, the exhibition emphasizes the importance of place, cultural heritage, history, and exchange in shaping the family’s enduring creative spirit. The show delves into the family’s connections with local institutions and dude ranches, significantly contributing to cultural exchange and promoting their traditional and contemporary arts and crafts.
With this celebration of his family’s artistic heritage, Ben Pease V invites audiences to explore the intergenerational connections that enrich the cultural fabric of the Apsáalooke community and contribute to the broader human experience. This compelling exhibition offers a unique glimpse into the art, history, and creativity of the Apsáalooke people, making it a must-see for museum visitors who appreciate the value of cultural heritage and the power of artistic expression.
Akbaleeíkaakuua (Protectors) is an immersive and thought-provoking art installation situated in the heart of the traditional homeland of the Apsáalooke people. The exhibition captures the spirit of resilience, adaptability, and spiritual metamorphosis, presenting a captivating journey encapsulating the challenges faced by the Apsáalooke in the wake of colonization, disease, and climate change.
Central to the installation is four wool blankets, each embodying the Apsáalooke’s rich cultural heritage. Antique U.S. army green and Hudson’s Bay 3.5 bar wool blankets adorning beaded trade beads, cotton giveaway cloth, and cattle marker oil sticks. Contemporary Pendleton and Eighth Generation Native Made wool blankets incorporate similar materials, bridging the past and present.
The chrome-painted buffalo skull is a poignant reminder of the decimation of the once-abundant large land-based keystone species in the modern world. The iconic Bishé skull symbolizes the current efforts of many in reintroducing and rewilding bison to rejuvenate and revitalize our shared ecosystems. The reflective chrome surface encourages humans to contemplate their role in both the destruction and potential restoration of this majestic species.
A wheelbarrow, ever-present at funerals in the artist’s hometown of Lodge Grass, Montana, and the Valley of the Chiefs stands as a testament to Apsáalooke burial traditions. Alongside wooden-handled steel shovels, this ordinary object embodies the final act of shoveling after funerals, further connecting visitors to the cultural significance of the installation.
The Brinton Museum houses the installation, which holds artworks by the artist’s great-grandmother, personal items, and photographs of his great-great-grandfather. As the museum resides in the traditional homeland of the Apsáalooke people, it is essential to examine the roles of institutions in the evolving cultural and societal landscape while considering the rapidly shifting global context.
Akbaleeíkaakuua invites visitors to contemplate personal identity, the influence of Indigenous culture on the broader human experience, and our collective duty to safeguard and revere our world. This artistic odyssey fosters reflection on our rapidly transforming world and the vital necessity of preserving the abundant cultural heritage of groups like the Apsáalooke people and their intertwined, poly-chronic legacies.
“Our origins of creation are cross-sections of our life in this world. The stars and worlds above guide us in all things holy and earthly and otherworldly. We connect our prayers, thoughts, and experiences to them as the fluidity of time stirs. There is power in growth and change. Here we confront death and celebrate life by giving breath to new ways of making medicine while we still can.”
Opening reception June 10th, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the E. T. Meredith Foundation and the Wyoming Arts Council.