Visual Voices: Contemporary Chickasaw Art

"Visual Voices: Contemporary Chickasaw Art showcases the diversity of expression in contemporary Chickasaw art across different media and multiple perspectives. The artworks analyze the complex relationship between contemporary Chickasaw life and rich tribal history and culture. Each of the fifteen emerging and established artists demonstrates a personal approach. Many of the artists are inspired by traditional Chickasaw elements of design and render them in contemporary materials and aesthetics to create an innovative, thought-provoking visual language. Others investigate tribal stories, belief systems, or family histories and traditions, and how these relate to present-day Chickasaw life. With more than 45 artworks reflecting a wide variety of themes, techniques and methods, the exhibition finds balance in the artists’ strong connection to tribal identity as well as his or her distinctly individual and cultural roots."

 Kristen Dorsey as seen in Visual Voices


Blood Bling comments on the play of superficiality and weight that Government Issued Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood Cards carry. An individual in possession of one of these cards is deemed a 'card carrying Indian.' The concept of 'blood quantum' is a European creation and did not exist in Indigenous communities. It is based on the racist notion that culture follows blood and that the european blood/culture is stronger and that the Native blood/culture, therefore the 'Native blood' would 'breed out'. This tool of colonization remains steadfast in contemporary American culture and negatively affects Indigenous peoples who must apply for their CDIB cards from the American government in order to prove their cultural identities. The irony of this is that no other ethnic or cultural group must apply for membership to the United States Government. The controversial cards are both a tool of power, yet are deemed necessary for native nations to identify true members. Each tribal government handles the blood quantum issues differently, however it remains a troubling and divisive issue for most Indigenous peoples on this continent.



 Panther Woman collection, symbolizes the strength and courage of our Chickasaw women throughout history. The panthers represent how our women are defenders of their families, communities, and culture. Panther Woman, the namesake of the collection, is a historical heroine from Chickasaw oral tradition.