My Art Quilt The Road to Oklahoma was placed 2nd in the 49th Trail of Tears Art Show 2020. It toured with the Speak: Speak While You Can exhibition through 2021. Curated by Bobby C. Martin and Tony Tiger, the exhibition "
makes clear that our languages are still—and will always be—an integral part of our identity as Native peoples".
In 2022 the quilt was acquired by the Muscogee Nation for permanent exhibition in the Council Oaks Comprehensive Health Care Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
This photographic self-portrait won the Inaugural Jessie Ross Cobb Award presented by First American Art Magazine at the 50th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show in 2021. In 2022 it was acquired by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter, England for permanent display in
the Reclaiming identities
section of their Americas Collection.
This piece represents a blending of cultures that makes sense to me as an artist and as a Mvskoke woman. Using historical photographs reclaims them from being ‘images of a vanishing/vanished people’ and gives them a powerful new presence, actively carrying a bloodline that links Indigenous Women over generations. The red colour also points to the ‘hidden’ issue of murdered and missing Native women. In recognition of the commonality of this experience, the dress fuses Plains styling, with imagery from the Eastern Woodlands, the Plains, and from my own Mvskoke heritage.
© Melinda Schwakhofer 2020