The Missoula Art Museum presents For the Good of All Things, a new exhibition featuring works in varied mediums by 16 Native artists living on Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribal (CSKT) lands.
Artists include Dwight Billedeaux, Eva Boyd, Corwin Clairmont, Aspen Decker, Cameron Decker, Frank Finley, Jeneese Hilton, Stephen Hunt, Tailyr Irvine, Linda King, Josh Kraude, Buck Hitswithastick (Morigeau), Salisha Old Bull, Mars Sandoval, Persephone Sandoval, and Sarah Sandoval. The public is invited to meet the artists at a storytelling and craft demonstration on Saturday, March 9, and at a First Friday celebration April 5.
Across artists, themes in For the Good of All Things diverge and overlap, from historical scenes in the ledger art of Aspen Decker to Dwight Billedeaux’s painted skull made in tribute to a friend.
Tailyr Irvine’s dazzling color photographs depict moments at powwows and appeared in a New York Times interactive feature she authored: “Powwow Season in Full Bloom.”
Community and familial relationships connect artists throughout the exhibition. Stephen Hunt portrays elder Eva Boyd in one of three large-format black and white photographs and Boyd’s baskets are exhibited on adjacent pedestals. Four members of the Sandoval family contributed. For non-Indigenous viewers, the exhibition hints at the centrality of relationships within Native CSKT communities.
The exhibition was inspired by the words of Ql̓ispé (Kalispel) Elder and Culture Bearer, Pete Beaverhead: “Kʷmiʔn̓e tʔe pistem̓kʷx̣ssmill̓šesyaʔɫu a scnq̓eʔels —ɫu kʷnq̓aq̓ʔels ɫu x̣ʷl̓č̓x̣est.” (I really hope that someday things will turn out right for you in all the work you are given and taking on – you who are working hard at what you are good at for the good of all things.) Exhibiting artist Frank Finley says Pete Beaverhead was his grandfather, “in that he was my father’s stepdad.”
In For the Good of All Things, MAM celebrates the wealth of artists from a variety of tribal backgrounds and mixed tribal affiliations who are living in communities across CSKT lands. Participating artists Corwin Clairmont and Linda King (both CSKT), along with Marie Torosian, program director at the Three Chiefs Culture Center, helped MAM reach artists who have not previously exhibited at the museum.
The exhibition is installed in the Lynda Frost Gallery, which has been dedicated for the last 17 years to contemporary Native artists, artwork, and voices, and is on display through April 6.