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Miccosukee and Seminole artists plan exhibition ahead of Miami Art Week

A historic photo of Seminole Indians, in boats on a body of water, taken between 1898 and 1931
Detroit Publishing Company
/
Public Domain
A historic photo of Seminole Indians , taken between 1898 and 1931.

Organizers hope it will usher in a new chapter of indigenous art in South Florida, and also encourage more young tribal artists to participate in the broader art scene.

With Miami Art Week just around the corner, galleries and art fairs are setting up for major events across South Florida.

But a group of indigenous artists from the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes will be holding their own art exhibition this Saturday, in the heart of the Everglades.

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Organizers hope it will usher in a new chapter of indigenous art in South Florida, and also encourage more young tribal artists to participate in the broader art scene.

“A lot of artists in the tribe are told by the family to do this or that instead — that ‘that’s not going to make you money,’” said Cayla Willie, a member of the Miccosukee Tribe.

Willie is an artist and she helped organize the exhibition.

“So with us doing this I feel like it will help them really enjoy being able to work on any projects that they have, and knowing that it’s going to be shown. That they’re not doing it for no reason,” she said.

The exhibition will display photography, wood carvings, paintings and fashion design that include nods to traditional indigenous art, but are not limited by it.

“I want to move past that stereotypical Native American art,” said Willie. “You’ll see some traditional, but you will also see modern.”

Staging the exhibition in the heart of the Everglades is also a statement about indigenous history and its connections to the contemporary culture of tribal members.

“Being in the Everglades really says it out loud. We’re there physically, emotionally, mentally,” she said. “We’re there, and we’re not gonna leave.”

Willie is already planning more art exhibitions for early next year. She hopes that a steady stream of contemporary art by indigenous artists will encourage more young Miccosukee and Seminole tribal members to want to participate.

“I believe it’s a great way to start,” said Willie. “This is just the beginning.”

The event is taking place on Saturday, Nov. 27, from noon to 6 p.m. at Buffalo Tigers Airboat at 29701 SW 8th St Miami, 33196.