On May 25, 2021, the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC) hosted the Museum Series webinar Native Stories: Indigenous Arts & People from America & Arabia with Dr. Manuela Well-Off-Man from the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Dr. Lucy Fowler Williams from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, and Dr. Alexandrine Guerin from the National Museum of Qatar. Moderated by QAIC’s Executive Director, Fatima Al Dosari, the webinar focused on the curation of art and artifacts of indigenous populations from North America and Qatar.
QAIC’s Museum Series brings together museum experts from the US and Qatar to discuss topics such as collection histories, contemporary curatorial practices, and the relevance of museums in today’s society. In this Museum Series panel, Dr. Well-Off-Man, Dr. Fowler Williams, and Dr. Guerin provided audiences an exclusive look at their museums’ indigenous art collections, their curatorial collaborations with native populations, and how their museums aim to combat preconceived notions about indigenous art and cultures.
“[Indigenous] art is not just decorative, but it holds important meanings and values for native peoples,” said Dr. Fowler Williams. Spanning time and place, indigenous art is not only highly symbolic, but it often reflects issues that continue to affect native communities, such as cultural appropriation and land rights. Each speaker emphasized how they work with native communities to highlight their experiences and stories in order to further educate audiences about indigenous art, culture, and life around the world.
The recording of the full discussion is available below.