By SASKIA NEWTON
The Metropolitan Museum of Art previewed on Thursday, a collection of Native American art pieces representing a diversity of aboriginal forms and that was inspired by a vacation in Mexico by the collectors.
“We got exposed to Native American art in 1971 while on vacation in Mexico, each piece has its meaning and aesthetics was the main drive,” said the collector Charles Diker
“The objects were made by living people, they are deep, intense and beautiful as the objects they made,” added his wife Valerie Diker.
The exhibit was grouped by cultural region in the present U.S.. including California, the Great Lakes,the Great Plains, Northwest Coast and Southwest Coast, ranging from the 2nd Century to the early 20th Century They included garments, such as a dress and belt with awl case, shown right at the entrance of the exhibit; a man’s coat made out of hide, cotton and glass; costumes such as a Yup’ik mask, which was worn during dance ceremonies, baskets by native California women, native composition structures, paintings and drawings. The drawings and paintings could be seen on muslin and animal hides highlighting the authenticity of the objects.
The pieces showcased the the press preview were chosen from their book titled Indigenous Beauty, a title they said they chose because it reflected exactly the collection.
The collectors showed enthusiasm about the exhibit.
“We feel pleased and happy that they MET is having it again,” they said.
Assistant Curator James Doyle said he was excited to work on this project. His favorite piece, the Shaman’s Amulet, can be found in the Northwest Coast section, which he titled “Art Heals”.
“They were designed to heal,” said Doyle of the amulets used by spiritual healers. “They reach us in a way that’s unusual.”
The exhibit was scheduled to open Friday.
Photo of man’s coat from Missouri-Arkansas circa 1840 made of hide, cotton and glass.