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Press Release

Release Date: November 27, 2018

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Chickasaw artist Dustin Mater looks through a hardcover book celebrating “Visual Voices: Contemporary Chickasaw Art” a world-class exhibit comprised of 57 works by 15 Chickasaw master artisans. The book is open to Mater’s futuristic battle helmet “Cosmic Warrior I,” borrowed from popular cultural and fused with Chickasaw identity.

  • “Visual Voices” will be displayed in the Chickasaw ancestral Homeland at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson March 2 through June 2, 2019.

ADA, Okla. – “Visual Voices: Contemporary Chickasaw Art” opens a three-month exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson beginning March 2, 2019, through June 2, 2019.

Something special awaits patrons who visit the exhibit – a 128-page, hardcover “catalog” concerning the world-class art exhibit will be available for purchase, according to “Visual Voices” Exhibition Program Manager Laura Clark.

While softcover “catalog” books are printed for many art exhibitions, “Visual Voices” took the endeavor to a grandeur scale by collaborating with the Chickasaw Press, Ms. Clark said.

“Ours is an embossed, hardcover book. It contains 78 color illustrations by professional photographers. All 15 Chickasaw artists and their artworks are showcased,” Ms. Clark said.

Also included are essays and poetry by 10 Chickasaw authors that gives readers information about Chickasaw culture, history, heritage and traditions.

“We wanted the book to illustrate the fine art on display, the artists who created it and explanations about what it means to be Chickasaw,” Ms. Clark said, adding “the book itself is a work of art.”

Two nationally-renowned museum curators, who helped launch “Visual Voices,” contributed essays.

Exhibit co-curator Manuela Well-Off-Man is Chief Curator of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Well-Off-Man also is an art historian with more than 15 years of curatorial experience in museums and art galleries.

Another essay contributor is exhibit co-curator Karen Whitecotton, owner of Heritage Museum Services, LLC, in Norman. Ms. Whitecotton was instrumental in advising and consulting Chickasaw artists to make “Visual Voices” a reality. Ms. Whitecotton is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and has years of experience in managing exhibitions as well as preserving tribal culture.

The book was edited by Ms. Clark and designed by Chickasaw artist Joanna Underwood Blackburn, a nationally acclaimed Chickasaw sculptor and potter. Mrs. Blackburn is chairman of “Visual Voices” Chickasaw Artist Board which oversees creative development of the exhibition first envisioned by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby five years ago.

Other board members include Chickasaw citizens Kristen Dorsey, a celebrated California jewelry designer, vice-chair; internationally recognized textile artist, weaver and garment-maker Margaret Roach Wheeler; master metalsmith and forger Daniel Worcester and Brent Greenwood, whose avant garde paintings have won national awards.

“Visual Voices” opened to critical acclaim at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, located on the University of Oklahoma campus, June 8, 2018. The exhibition ended Sept. 9 and the works are being warehoused in specialized crates in Dallas, Ms. Clark said.

The Jackson, Mississippi, exhibition will be the second exhibition for “Visual Voices,” followed by its Santa Fe opening in August 2019 and a 2020 venue, Ms. Clark added.

The books are now available for purchase through the Chickasaw Press or through the "Visual Voices" website at