To Take Shape and Meaning

Form and Design in Contemporary American Indian Art

March 2–July 28, 2024

Simpson - Maria

Organized by guest curator Nancy Strickland Fields (Lumbee), director/curator of the Museum of the Southeast American Indian at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, the upcoming exhibition To Take Shape and Meaning: Form and Design in Contemporary American Indian Art features works by 75 Indigenous artists from over 50 tribes throughout the United States and Canada, including eight from North Carolina.


Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 8, at 10 am for members and Thursday, February 22, at 10 am for nonmembers. 

Free for Members
$20 Adults, $17 Seniors age 65 and older, $14 Youth ages 7–18, Free for children 6 and under and college students

Learn more about Membership 

ORTIZ-Convergence-Defenders-Descend-2 (1)
To Take Shape and Meaning brings together a wide range of Indigenous world views, ideas, experiences, traditions, cultures, and media and emphasizes the continuity and evolution of Native arts, both collective and individual expressions of Native America. The exhibition, composed exclusively of 3-D artworks, includes baskets made of blown glass, cars transformed into works of art, and cutting-edge fashion ensembles embellished with elaborate beadwork and feathers. This project supports the NCMA’s ongoing goal of presenting expansive and inclusive art historical narratives in all aspects of the Museum and of bringing in contemporary artists whose works focus on themes that are particularly relevant to the concerns of the current moment.
Okuma 1
“For thousands of years, Native artists have manipulated their materials into fantastic expressions of art. The contemporary artists featured in the show are among the most acclaimed in their genres and are credited with pushing their art forms in ways that retain meaning and continue to evolve culture.” —Nancy Strickland Fields, Guest Curator

Plan Your Visit

Ticket and Visitor Information

To Take Shape and Meaning is on view in East Building, Level B, Meymandi Exhibition Gallery
More information on parking and Museum hours

  • $20 for nonmembers
  • $17 for military and 65+
  • Free for members, students, and children under 6 
Shop and Dine

Exhibition Store
Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

To Take Shape and Meaning is accompanied by an NCMA–published catalogue with essays by guest curator Nancy Strickland Fields (Lumbee), artist Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo), and Stephen Fadden (Mohawk), director of programming at Poeh Cultural Center in Pojoaque, New Mexico.

Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm, for coffee service
Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am–3 pm, for lunch and brunch service

East Café
Friday–Sunday, 11 am–4 pm
Grab-and-go sandwiches, snacks, crafted coffees, cold beverages, and more.


Docent-guided exhibition tours are available for adults, students, and youth groups. Groups must have a minimum of five individuals. Learn more

A series of curator tours with Nancy Strickland Fields are available on: 

  • Saturday, March 2, 1–2 pm, free as part of Community Day
  • Saturday, April 20, 1–2 pm, free as part of Community Day
  • Saturday, May 18, 1–2 pm, free with ticket to exhibition (must register)
  • Saturday, June 8, 1–2 pm, free with ticket to exhibition (must register)

To register for the May or June tour, please contact us.

Free gallery guides available at the exhibition entrance.

Become a Member

Become a member today to enjoy special savings!


Enhance your experience of all special exhibitions and our world-class collection with these exclusive benefits:

  • Free admission for all special ticketed exhibitions 
  • Exclusive Member Mondays during select ticketed exhibitions
  • Invitations to exhibition openings and other celebrations
  • Discount on summer concerts in the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park
  • Discount on NCMA Cinema tickets
  • Free admission to summer movies
  • 10% off purchases in the Museum Store
  • Preview, the Museum’s quarterly members publication, mailed to your home
  • Member e-newsletters
Image Information
  • Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo), Maria, 2014, 1985 Chevy El Camino, H. 54 × W. 72 × D. 202 in., Courtesy of the artist; Photo: Kate Russell
  • Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo), Convergence, Defenders Descend from Portal to Pueblo, 2023, Cochiti red clay, white clay slip, red clay slip, and black pigment (wild spinach plant), H. 28 1/2 × W. 19 × D. 18 in., Gift of Alan and Benjamin King, Jeffrey Childers and Onay Cruz Gutierrez, Joyce Fitzpatrick and Jay Stewart, Valerie Hillings and B. J. Scheessele, Marjorie Hodges and Carlton Midyette, Stefanie and Douglas Kahn, Bonnie and John Medinger, Mindy and Guy Solie, Cathy and Jim Stuart, Libby and Lee Buck, Liza and Lee Roberts, and an anonymous donor
  • Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock/Wailaki/Okinawan), Adaptation II, 2012, shoes designed by Christian Louboutin, leather, glass beads, porcupine quills, sterling silver cones, brass sequins, and chicken feathers, each H. 8 5/8 × W. 3 1/4 × D. 9 3/16 in., Lent by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bequest of Virginia Doneghy, by exchange; Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Hartfield Foundation; Libby and Lee Buck; the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

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