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Museum Broken Arrow is Indigichic’s first stop in exhibition series

To see and shop the Indigichic exhibition, go to 400 S Main St., Broken Arrow, Okla. 74012. Pieces span runway items to tees, pants, shirts and accessories. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Museum Broken Arrow Director Betty Gerber visited Indigichic’s pop-up in downtown Tulsa over the holidays, and in following months, she began to envision the pop-up as an exhibition. Gerber, who is Muscogee Creek, wanted to present Indigichic fashions as an example of the newest evolution in Native art—and also, she saw the show as an opportunity to draw attention to Broken Arrow’s origins as a tribal town.

That is how Indigichic, an Indigenous artist collective currently at 35 members, had the show opportunity “dropped into our hands,” said Alex Ponca Stock. She organized the show along with fellow co-founders Veronica Pipestem and Dr. Jessica Moore Harjo. Together, the Indigichic collaborators are raising questions about whether art forms traditionally relegated to craft can be “fine art, period.”

The exhibition places pieces such as beaded jewelry and textile art into a fine art museum setting, and Gerber gets it. “Native fashion is what I’d be doing if I was young,” she said, and recalled learning about the evolution of Native art over time.

From painted buffalo hides meant to be history records (but viewed by museums as art) to the development of ledger art and its transition from floating figures to representational and modern works, Gerber said that the show is placing Indigenous craft in a setting from which they are normally excluded.

“And why?” Stock asked. “Why would clothing or regalia be relegated to anything other than fine art? We have these high concepts [but] what are these hierarchies that are imposed upon us by these institutions that we love and appreciate? We don’t want to burn it down, but we do want to shake the tree a little bit.”

Indigichic will raise such questions not only in this show, but in a series of exhibitions to come over the next couple of years, with the next stop at the former AHHA in Tulsa—now called 101 Archer and run by the University of Tulsa. More museum exhibition announcements will follow, said Stock.

Indigichic co-founders Veronica Pipestem and Dr. Jessica Moore Harjo set up their exhibit at the Museum Broken Arrow. Osage News

The Indigichic exhibition at Museum Broken Arrow highlights two artists over three months, beginning with Wendy Ponca’s textile designs, up through June 17, after which Randi Narcomey-Watson’s works will be on display through the show’s close in July.

Viewers can purchase Indigichic pieces in the gift shop as well as in the museum space, and then wear those purchases right out of the building, same day. Pipestem and Harjo visit weekly to replenish pieces, a detail that means the exhibition changes over time. Another innovation present in the show is the fact that Indigichic pays the artists in their collective at higher rates. Contrary to common gallery practice, in which consignment sales take 50 percent off the top, Indigichic takes only 30 percent. “That’s pretty much unheard of in gallery spaces,” said Stock.

Gerber is thrilled to support them. “What they [Indigichic] are doing is part of the evolution process. It’s always been evolving.”

To see and shop the Indigichic exhibition, go to 400 S Main St., Broken Arrow, Okla. 74012. Pieces span runway items to tees, pants, shirts and accessories. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. A full list of artists and further information is at https://www.indigichic.com/.

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Chelsea T. Hicks
Chelsea T. Hickshttps://osagenews.org
Title: Staff Reporter
Email: chelsea.hicks@osagenation-nsn.gov
Languages spoken: English
Chelsea T. Hicks’ past reporting includes work for Indian Country Today, SF Weekly, the DCist, the Alexandria Gazette-Packet, Connection Newspapers, Aviation Today, Runway Girl Network, and elsewhere. She has also written for literary outlets such as the Paris Review, Poetry, and World Literature Today. She is Wahzhazhe, of Pawhuska District, belonging to the Tsizho Washtake, and is a descendant of Ogeese Captain, Cyprian Tayrien, Rosalie Captain Chouteau, Chief Pawhuska I, and her iko Betty Elsey Hicks. Her first book, A Calm & Normal Heart, won the 5 Under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation. She holds an MA from the University of California, Davis, and an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
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Corrections:

It was incorrectly stated that a series of exhibitions will come over the next couple of years at the AHHA in Tulsa. The former AHHA in Tulsa is now called 101 Archer and is run by the University of Tulsa. The Osage News regrets the error.

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