Artist and Keeper of History’ « News @ ODU

The Barry Art Museum at Old Dominion University announces its upcoming exhibition, “Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist and Story-Keeper“, which opens August 30.

This exhibit celebrates the renowned sculptural work of Rhonda Holy Bear (Cheyenne River Lakota) over the past 35 years. Holy Bear engages in the Aboriginal tradition of doll making, using painstaking micro-beading and other meticulous processes to create its intricate and highly detailed works.

“Stories have always played a vital role in preserving our Indigenous culture,” Holy Bear said. “I had no idea how much my grandmother’s stories would impact my life. It is my sincere hope that through my work I can play a part in helping to restore, revitalize and ensure the continuum of our Lakota plains. Culture.”

Through December 31, an intimate selection of six works will be on display at the Barry Art Museum, with accompanying programming in November to honor Native American Heritage Month.

Public programs: The Barry Art Museum offers free admission to the museum and free public programs, including Saturday exhibition tours, a monthly lecture series, and U-Nite After Hours events.

Tours of the “Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist and Storyteller” exhibit are scheduled at 1:00 p.m. on September 3, 17, 24 and October 22. To inquire, email [email protected]

The monthly lecture series takes place on the first Thursday of each month. At 6 p.m. on Nov. 3, “The work of the hand, the weaving of a story” will present Holy Bear in a virtual talk from his home studio in Nevada. She will share stories and the techniques she relies on to create her intricate sculptures.

Monthly after-hours events bring together academic and community partners to deepen our understanding and explore the themes presented by the art on display. This U-Nite series takes place on the second Friday of every month.

5 p.m. on November 11, U-Nite: History and Crafts will highlight Indigenous craft traditions from across the country. Attendees will see demonstrations and experience the processes with their own hands. Guest curator Sara Woodbury will provide guided tours of our “Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist & Story-Keeper” exhibition, which features hand-beaded dolls and intricate feather work worthy of in-depth investigation. Enjoy live music, refreshments and educational entertainment at the museum as we celebrate Indigenous culture and customs.

For the complete fall schedule, visit

“Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist and Story-Keeper” is curated by Woodbury, a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at the College of William & Mary. The curatorial and programs of the Barry Art Museum are guided by a team of exhibit advisory committee members and organizations, including Keith Anderson, Deputy Chief of the Nansemond Indian Nation; Rhonda Holy Bear, featured artist, Lakota Nation; Steven Grafe, Art Curator, Maryhill Museum of Art; Charlotte Potter Kasic, Executive Director, Barry Art Museum; and Drew Lopenzina, professor of ancient and Native American literature at Old Dominion University.

Additional support for the creation of the exhibit was provided by Holy Bear, the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming, and Susan and David Goode.

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