Birds: Spiritual Messengers of the Skies at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Escavada Black-on-White Duck Pot (circa 950-1150), pottery; photo Amy Montoya

Birds play a prominent role in Native culture, whether serving as a food source, providing feathers for ceremonial uses and for dress, or in a spiritual capacity.

The exhibition Birds: Spiritual Messengers of the Skies examines the roles the winged creatures play in daily life and in art forms, including rock art and pottery. Their prevalent representations on paintings and vessels, as well as vessels shaped in the form of birds, indicate a long-held admiration for our avian friends among Native people that extends from past to present.

“Birds are essential in keeping down insect populations, pollinating plants, and dispersing and recycling nutrients back into the earth, but beyond their practical contributions, birds are also inspirational creatures that encourage and feed our spirits,” says Diana Sherman, exhibition curator and collections manager at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. “This exhibit celebrates the greatness of birds in our world and their important role in Native American culture.”

The exhibition is on view by admission ($9 with discounts available) through July 31. Masks and social distancing are required for visitors who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, 710 Camino Lejo, 505-476-1269, indianartsandculture.org

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