New Directions

Part of the Totems to Turquoise exhibition.

Chilkat Blanket
Unknown artist (Tlingit)

Today's artists forge new ground within longstanding traditions.

As creative individuals, today's Native artists inevitably explore new directions. Some incorporate unique personal visions. Others introduce unfamiliar materials or dramatically different approaches to older forms. Often, aspects of old and new appear side by side in a single piece.



Chief Blanket
Unknown artist (Navajo)

The constant evolution of styles in Native artwork is itself a tradition that spans hundreds of years. Contact with Europeans brought silverworking and other new materials and techniques---innovations that artists melded with older art forms to forge a new tradition. The growing market for Native American art pushed artists in new directions to satisfy outside demands, sometimes inspiring the revival of older traditional forms.