Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation

The Columbia Museum of Art will present the exhibit Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973 from June 10 – September 3, 2023. The exhibit is a major 50-year anniversary exhibition, building off the original 1973 version that showcased Catawba potters. A variety of dynamic public programs are planned to go along with the exhibit. SC Humanities supported the programming with a Major Grant.

Featuring a range of arts and artists of the Catawba Nation from 1973 to present, Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973 centers around Catawba pottery, the oldest continuous ceramics tradition in North America, dating back thousands of years. Basketry, quilt works, and photography round out the exhibition to showcase the living traditions of Catawba arts, culture, and heritage.

Resurgence and Renaissance is a 50-year anniversary exhibition that builds off a 1973 CMA exhibition of Catawba potters recognized as pillars of excellence in their craft. Since then, the citizens of the Catawba Nation continue to preserve their heritage through artistic traditions and innovation. The exhibit includes some of the finest Catawba makers over the last half century, including those practicing today.

A variety of public programs are planned while the exhibit is on display, starting with an opening celebration on Saturday, June 10, from 12 – 4 p.m. A sampling of programs is feartured below. The full list of related events can be found on the Columbia Museum of Art website.

Opening Celebration for Resurgence and Renaissance
Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Free with membership or admission
Celebrate the opening of featured exhibition Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973 with a family-friendly afternoon at your museum. Be on Boyd Plaza at 12:30 p.m. to enjoy Catawba women’s drum group Women of the River performing traditional songs and dances. At 2:00 p.m. take in a conversation between Brittany Taylor-Driggers, director of campus collections and galleries and associate professor of art and art history at USC Lancaster, and Jackie Adams, CMA director of art and learning. Plus be on the lookout for docents with an “Ask me about the art!” button throughout the galleries for an opportunity to chat and ask questions. CMA members are invited to bring a friend along between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. to enjoy food by Mohawk chef Dave Smoke McCluskey, who promotes the use of Indigenous, organic, sustainable, and locally/regionally grown ingredients, as well as foraged foods and medicines.

Let’s Talk Race Community Conversation with Richland Library
Tuesday, July 18, 2023 | 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Free. Registration is required.
The Columbia Museum of Art joins Richland Library in their ongoing series Let’s Talk Race to facilitate discussions that tackle a variety of topics through the lens of race, equity, and inclusion. Every conversation is different and offers community members the opportunity to take part in this honest and courageous dialogue. This month, Let’s Talk Race features discussion around works from the exhibition Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation since 1973, showcasing a range of Catawba arts and artists from the last 50 years as well as the living traditions of Catawba arts, culture, and heritage. This event will be held at the CMA in the exhibition galleries.

In Conversation: Catawba Law and Indigenous Sovereignty
Thursday, July 20, 2023 | 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Free with membership or admission.
Join us during extended Thursday hours for a conversation on Indigenous sovereignty with Jeff Harris, Catawba citizen and tribal governance attorney for the Catawba Nation, and Marcia A. Yablon-Zug, the Miles and Ann Loadholt Professor of Family Law at the University of South Carolina. With a complicated history with state and federal courts in the U.S., tribal nations and their attorneys must navigate complex legal ecosystems to protect the rights of their citizens both locally and federally. Harris discusses his experiences as legal representation for the Catawba Nation, where he works in constitutional reform, governing ordinances, and improving the tribal court of laws, while Yablong-Zug shares her perspective as a professor of Federal Indian Law at USC. The pair discusses some of these significant issues as well as their collaborative work at the USC School of Law leading students to help develop a full code of laws for the Catawba Nation.

Indigenous Corps of Discovery Tour with DeLesslin George-Warren
Sunday, July 23, 2023 | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Free with membership or admission. Registration required as space is limited. Priority registration for members only through Wednesday, May 24.
Join DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren, Catawba Nation citizen, for a special tour through Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973 and the CMA Collection. The tour is part of his longest ongoing project, the Indigenous Corps of Discovery Tours, which presents unsettling tours of collections and museums, bringing to the forefront stories of indigenous peoples, colonization, and survivance. The project began in 2016 at the Smithsonian’s Presidential Portrait Gallery and has since taken place at the Utah Museum of Fine Art and the Nordic Museum in Seattle, Washington.

Becoming Catawba: A Conversation with Dr. Brooke Bauer
Sunday, July 30, 2023 | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Free with membership or admission
As part of the 50-year anniversary exhibition Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973, join CMA Director of Art and Learning Jackie Adams in conversation with Catawba citizen, historian, writer, and artist Dr. Brooke Bauer to discuss her new book Becoming Catawba: Catawba Indian Women and Nation-Building, 1540-1840. The book explores how Catawba women were and are central figures in the history of the Catawba people, examining their vital roles as women, mothers, providers, and protectors that created, promoted, and preserved Catawba identity and helped build a nation.

The Columbia Museum of Art sparks powerful connections through art from around the corner and around the world in an environment that is welcoming to all. The museum is located at 1515 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29201. More information about the Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973 exhibit can be found on the Columbia Museum of Art website here:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

Image: Georgia Henrietta Harris (Catawba, 1905–1997). Bowl with Effigy Heads, c.1973. Pit-fired earthenware. Gift of Georgia Henrietta Harris.
Photo credit: Drew Baron / The Columbia Museum of Art.