To Take Shape and Meaning

Form and Design in Contemporary American Indian Art

March 2–July 28, 2024

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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 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.


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

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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.
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“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 
Exhibition Catalogue

To Take Shape and Meaning is accompanied by a lushly illustrated 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.

NCMA, 2024, 180 pp., hardcover, full color, $35

Available for purchase in the Exhibition Store and Museum Store.

Artist List

Marcus Amerman (Choctaw)
Venancio Aragon (Navajo Nation)
Keri Ataumbi (Kiowa)
Martha Berry (Cherokee Nation)
Sally Black (Navajo)
Joanna Underwood Blackburn (Chickasaw Nation)
Debra Box (Southern Ute)
Jackie Larson Bread (Blackfeet Nation)
Millie Bridwell (Cheyenne River Sioux)
Harlen Chavis Jr. (Lumbee)
Steven L. Chrisjohn (Oneida)
Kelly Church (Ottawa/Pottawatomi/Matchi-be-nash-she-wish)
Melissa S. Cody (Navajo Nation)
Vivian Garner Cottrell (Cherokee Nation)
Robert Davidson (Haida)
Leslie A. Deer (Muscogee [Mvskoke] Nation of Oklahoma/Creek Nation)
Carol Emarthle Douglas (Northern Arapaho/Seminole)
Orlando Dugi (Navajo)
Chase Earles (Caddo)
Tom Farris (Otoe-Missouria/Cherokee Nation)
Anita Fields (Osage Nation and Muscogee Creek Nation)
Sue Fish (Chickasaw/Choctaw)
Cliff Fragua (Jemez Pueblo)
Gabriel Frey (Passamaquoddy)
Gal Frey (Passamaquoddy)
Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy)
Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Choctaw)
Bill Glass Jr. (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma)
Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee)
Dorothy Grant (Haida)
Teri Greeves (Kiowa)
Raven Halfmoon (Caddo Nation)
Harry Hank (Inupiaq)
Benjamin Harjo Jr. (Seminole/Absentee Shawnee)
Georgia Harris (Catawba Nation)
Evalena Henry (San Carlos Apache)
Emil Her Many Horses (Oglala Lakota)
Rhonda Holy Bear (Hunkpapa Lakota)
Allan Houser (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache)
Kenneth Johnson (Muscogee/Seminole)
Peter B. Jones (Onondaga)
Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw)
Jontay Kahm (Plains Cree)
Renferd Koruh (Hopi/Tewa)
Chalmers Locklear (Lumbee)
Gloria Tara Lowery (Lumbee)
Senora Lynch (Haliwa-Saponi)
Julian Martinez (San Ildefonso Pueblo)
Maria Martinez (San Ildefonso Pueblo)
Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho/Seneca)
Wanesia Misquadace (Fond du Lac Band of the Ojibway)
Katrina Mitten (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma)
Elias Jade Not Afraid (Apsaalooké Nation)
Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock/Wailaki/Okinawan)
Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo)
Jane Osti (Cherokee Nation)
Cherish Parrish (Pottawatomi/Ottawa/Matchi-be-nash-she-wish)
Lisa Rutherford (Cherokee Nation)
Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo)
Preston Singletary (Tlingit)
Richard Zane Smith (Wyandot Nation of Kansas)
Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo)
Dorothy Torivio (Acoma Pueblo)
Laura Walkingstick (Eastern Band Cherokee)
Kathleen Wall (Jemez Pueblo and Chippewa)
Denise Wallace (Chugach/Sugpiaq/Alutiiq)
Marie Watt (Seneca Nation)
Jodi Webster (Ho-Chunk Nation/Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation)
Billy Welch (Eastern Band Cherokee)
Margaret Roach Wheeler (Chickasaw/Choctaw)
Maidena Welch Wildcatt (Eastern Band Cherokee)
Dennis Michael Wilkins (Lumbee)
Kenneth Williams Jr. (Northern Arapaho/Cattaraugus Seneca)
Holly Wilson (Delaware Nation)

Shop and Dine

Exhibition Store
Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

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.

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  • Free admission for all special ticketed exhibitions 
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  • 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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