Return from Exile is a national traveling exhibition. It features work of Southeastern Native American artists responding to the themes of Removal, Resilience and Return.
Within the first 40 years of the 19th century, almost all of the original inhabitants of the southeastern United States—the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees and Seminoles—had been removed, either voluntarily or forcibly, to new lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma. In a stunning triumph of ethnic cleansing, the U.S. government’s policy of removal of Indian tribes from their ancestral homelands succeeded in uprooting and relocating whole tribal cultures to a strange and distant Indian Territory in the West. For almost 200 years now, that strange and distant territory has been home to the “Five Civilized Tribes”— while the original homelands in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida and the Carolinas have in large part become a distant memory only recalled through historic documents and oral tradition.
But has that memory, that connection to place of origin, really disappeared? How do contemporary Southeastern Native peoples see themselves in light of the historic events of removal and displacement? Do these historic events still have an affect on lives today? These are the questions this exhibition seeks to address, through responses and reactions to the themes of Removal, Return, and Resilience, presented by a premier group of 32 contemporary Southeastern Native American artists.
- August 22 - October 10, 2015: Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, Georgia
- October 15, 2015 - January 15, 2016: Collier County Museum, Naples, Florida
- February 4 - June 17, 2016 (DATES EXTENDED!): Dr. J.W. Wiggins Gallery, Sequoyah National Research Center, Little Rock, Arkansas
- July 5 - August 26, 2016 : Pryor Art Gallery, Columbia State Community College, Columbia, Tennessee
- September 1 - 23, 2016: John Brown University Galleries, Siloam Springs, Arkansas
- October 1-November 20, 2016: Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA), co-sponsored with Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- May 13 - August 19, 2017: Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, Oklahoma