Arts & Culture A new exhibition of clay sculptures by acclaimed and highly innovative artist Peter B. Jones (Onondaga) will open at the Syracuse University Art Museum on Aug. 24 and will be on view through Dec. 15. “Continuity, Innovation and Resistance: The Art of Peter B. Jones” comments on and actively resists the impact of colonialism on Haudenosaunee communities, past and present.
His art presents Haudenosaunee culture as a continuum that has resisted and persisted despite serious attacks on Haudenosaunee lands, sovereignty and cultural identity. Under the direction of professors Sascha Scott and Scott Manning Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk Nation), this exhibition was co-curated by students at Syracuse University including Charlotte Dupree (Akwesasne Mohawk Nation), Eiza Capton (Cayuga Nation), Anthony V.
Ornelaz (Diné), Ana Juliana Borja Armas (Quechua) and Jaden N. Dagenais. “It has been a distinct pleasure to co-direct this project with professor Stevens and to see the students who shaped the exhibition—Charlotte, Eiza, Anthony, AJ and Jaden—grow as scholars, curators and storytellers,” says Scott.
“I am proud of the work they have done, which honors Peter Jones as a groundbreaking artist and has created space for teaching the Syracuse University and local communities about Haudenosaunee culture, history and vibrant present.” The exhibition features ceramic works lent from the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.), the New York State Museum (Albany, New York), the Fenimore Art Museum (Cooperstown, New York), the Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, New York), the Longyear Museum of Anthropology at Colgate University (Hamilton, New York), the Iroquois Museum (Howes Cave, New York) and private collectors. About the Exhibition Peter B.
Jones’s work is a testament to Haudenosaunee cultural continuity despite cataclysmic and overt challenges to Indigenous sovereignty owing to waves of colonialism, first by European powers and later by the United States and Canada. His traditional vessels revive ancient Haudenosaunee pottery techniques and styles, which were almost lost as Indigenous peoples adopted European trade goods and owing to profound disruptions by displacement, war and epidemics.
Many of Jones’s innovative figurative sculptures celebrate Haudenosaunee worldviews and social organization, while others address the negative impacts of missionary activities, Indian removal, assimilationist policies and capitalism. His sculptures of storytellers, wampum readers, medicine women, warriors and elders, remind viewers that, in the face of these tremendous pressures and challenges, Haudenosaunee peoples have maintained their culture, which is still thriving today.
“Peter Jones has been recognized as the leading Haudenosaunee artist working in clay for over three decades and this exhibition gives us a great overview of his remarkable career,” says Stevens. The exhibition and related programming has been made possible by generous support from a Humanities New York Action Grant, a mini-grant from the Engaged Humanities Network, which included access to a network to seed, support, and foster exchanges for the project, Syracuse University SOURCE grants, as well as co-sponsorship from the Humanities Center (Syracuse Symposium), College of Arts and Sciences, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Hendricks Chapel, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Strategic Initiatives, Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Native Student Program, Department of Art and Music Histories, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program. About the Artist Peter B.
Jones was born an Onondaga citizen (Beaver Clan) in 1947 and grew up on the Cattaraugus Seneca Reservation in western New York, where he now operates a pottery workshop and studio. He studied under Hopi artist Otellie Loloma while attending the Institute of American Indian Art in New Mexico. His pottery, which has revived traditional Haudenosaunee pit firing, hand-built coiling, and slab construction, is admired and collected by community members, art collectors, and museums across the country and internationally.
Reminiscent of early Haudenosaunee pottery, Jones’ art both speaks to cultural continuity and directly reflects the issues that have impacted Haudenosaunee people. Jones works mostly in stoneware and white earthenware clay. He is currently teaching young potters at the Seneca Nation Sully, building a traditional arts and Seneca language facility on the Cattaraugus reservation. Featured Events Opening Reception: “Continuity, Innovation, and Resistance: The Art of Peter B.
Jones” Thursday, Sept. 14: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Syracuse University Art Museum Peter B. Jones Artist Talk Friday, Sept. 15: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Syracuse University Art Museum Community Day Saturday, Oct. 14: Noon to 4 p.m. Syracuse University Art Museum Art Break: A Conversation with the Curators of Continuity, Innovation, and Resistance Wednesday, Nov.
15: Noon to 12:45 p.m. Syracuse University Art Museum Visit the museum’s website for more public programs surrounding the exhibition. Members of the media, please contact Emily Dittman, interim director of Syracuse University Art Museum, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule a tour.