Founded in 1887, the Newberry Library supports and inspires research, teaching, and learning in the humanities.
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Jeffrey Gibson: Sweet Bitter Love
May 28–September 18, 2021
For Toward Common Cause, the Newberry presents Jeffrey Gibson’s reflections on representations of Indigenous people in cultural institutions.
In Sweet Bitter Love, Gibson, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent, responds to the nineteenth-century portraits of Indigenous people in the Newberry Library’s collection. His paintings and wallpaper refute ethnographic symbolism with vibrant, glittering layers. Surrounding documentation of ceremonial gifts acquired by the Field Museum in 1991, his works question our expectations for what qualifies as cultural relics and the institutional practices surrounding their care. As they enter into critical dialogue across the gallery space, these art objects collectively deconstruct myths of Indigenous culture and attest to its persistence.
The Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies is a presenting partner for “Relational Futures: A Symposium for Indigenous Land, Water, and Environment,” a multi-day conference, planned for October 7–9, 2021, that brings together Indigenous scholars, activists, and policy for dialogue around our relationships to land, water, and environment.
The Newberry connects researchers and visitors with its unique collection—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—in reading rooms, exhibition galleries, program spaces, classrooms, and online digital resources. Since its founding in 1887, the Newberry has remained dedicated to deepening our collective understanding of ourselves and the world around us. As individuals engage with Newberry collections and staff, they discover stories that bridge the past and present and illuminate the human condition. The Newberry’s community of discovery is driven by a shared commitment to promoting research, inspiring learning, and using inquiry across the humanities as a tool to engage critically in a vibrant democratic society.