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In this virtual opening, curator Joe Baker, Enrolled Member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Lenape Center, discusses the exhibition works from Greenpoint Library.

Lenapehoking is the first Lenape-curated exhibition of Lenape cultural arts, both historic and contemporary, in the City of New York.

Museum institutions have historically overlooked the Lenape genocide in favor of a trade and commerce narrative. Lenape Center has placed this exhibition at the Greenpoint Library to explore the library as a site for the intersection of beauty, knowledge, and diverse publics. At a time when society is constantly asking more from traditional museums, the library offers a democratic space free of the hierarchies of museum practice to experience Lenape art and culture within a community setting.

The exhibition features masterworks by Lenape artists past and present (beadwork, a turkey feather cape, and a culinary tapestry from the seed rematriation project in the Hudson Valley) as examples of the survivance and beauty of Lenape culture. Bandolier bags from 1830 to 1850 are examples of the determination of our Lenape ancestors to continue their culture in a tumultuous time of forced removal and dispossession.

This program is presented in partnership with the Lenape Center.


Participants

Joe Baker is an artist, educator, curator and activist who has been working in the field of Native Arts for the past thirty years. He is an enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and co-founder executive director of Lenape Center in Manhattan. Baker is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work in New York and was recently Visiting Professor of Museum Studies at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado. He serves as a board member for The Endangered Language Fund, Yale University and on the Advisory Committee for the National Public Art Consortium, New York and cultural advisor for the new CBS Series, “Ghosts.”

Baker has guided in his capacity as executive director for Lenape Center partnerships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (his work is currently on exhibit there), Brooklyn Museum of Art, American Ballet Theater, Moulin Rouge on Broadway, The Whitney Museum of Art, and others. In partnership with Farm Hub in the Hudson River Valley, Baker and Lenape Center are championing the return of ancestral seeds in the homeland through a seed rematriation project.  This seed saving project, now in its second year, has done much to contribute to the cultural foodways of the Lenape diaspora.  In partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library, Baker is the curator of the first ever Lenape exhibition of cultural arts in the City of New York, opening January 2021.  Baker graduated from the University of Tulsa with a BFA degree in Design and an MFA in painting and drawing, and completed postgraduate study, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, MDP Program. 

Talks like this continue throughout the Lenapehoking exhibition, which runs from Jan 20 through April 30. Program calendar here.

To view the exhibition website, please go here.

Lenapehoking is made possible in part with support from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

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