When University of Wisconsin Printmaking-Relief and Serigraphy professor and Associate Dean for the Arts John Hitchcock was a child, his grandmother would often tell him stories related to their Indigenous culture.

Hitchcock’s grandmother would teach him to draw and create his own designs by imitating the pattern of her beadwork and taking inspiration from flowers and other natural elements. This inspiration forms the foundation of Hitchcock’s work showing at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. UW photography professor and co-author of the book “People of the Big Voice” Tom Jones is also featured.

The professors’ work is part of the exhibition “The Land Carries Our Ancestors.” The exhibit was curated by by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, an Indigenous artist and citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, according to the National Gallery of Art website. The exhibit is the first showing of native art presented at the National Gallery in 30 years.

Smith is an important figure in the contemporary Indigenous art movement, known for her work representing the Indigenous people’s artwork and spreading awareness of their talents. She has curated exhibitions in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Denver Airport and other spaces, according to the Accola Griefen Gallery website.

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