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In "First Americans", Museum Volkenkunde central focus is the experience of indigenous North Americans, their creativity and resilience. In the year of the commemoration planned by Leiden 400, they bring to the fore contemporary artists and their work together with the collections of the museum.
The arrival of European settlers put indigenous nations under pressure such that community, languages, lifeways and religion were fundamentally changed. The resilience of indigenous nations has however ensured that indigenous culture continues to thrive. First Americans will feature more than sixty contemporary and historic artworks alongside each other considering a number of themes that highlights indigenous creativity.
The end of "FIRST AMERICANS" is outside the museum where visitors can see the mural by Yatika Starr Fields (Osage/Cherokee/Creek-Muskogee). This dynamic and colourful 48 square metre mural springs from a personal expression of what indigenous resilience means. In thinking through his composition, Fields was inspired by the work Frans Hals.
Contemporary artwork First Americans brings together a diversity of indigenous artists across different media. These works purchase or commissioned are combined with a selection of historic works out of the collection, including paintings, clothing, weapons, jewellery and ceramics.