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Elizabeth James-Perry: Double Arrows

About the Exhibition


Sep 5 – Nov 12



Double Arrows—invoking the dynamic image of a line with arrow points at both ends—is Elizabeth James-Perry’s visually evocative concept of acknowledging our shared space and human interdependencies with the natural world. This exhibition of James-Perry’s work, presented in the Grossman Gallery at SMFA at Tufts, will include textured weavings in subtle colors and unique jewelry incorporating local sustainable plant materials, as well as contributions from an expanded community of artists, including Tanya Crane, Erin Genia, Jonathan James-Perry, and Patricia James-Perry. Additionally, a newly commissioned public-art billboard, installed on the exterior of the SMFA at Tufts Fenway building, will feature James-Perry’s painted imagery celebrating Wampanoag coastal identity through the depiction of Indigenous life and the ongoing importance of wampum and Native family.

Elizabeth James-Perry is an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head–Aquinnah, National Endowment for the Arts 2023 National Heritage Fellow, and a lifelong traditional artist, scientist, and illustrator. She engages with Northeastern Woodlands Native cultural expressions in myriad forms, from wampum shell-carving and twined basketry to restorative Native garden design and installation. Recent projects include a sea turtle mound garden and nearby pollinator garden created with the Native and Indigenous Students Association (NISA) at Amherst College. Following participation in the Fuller Craft Museum’s exhibition Another Crossing: Artists Revisit the Mayflower Voyage, with Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma, the artists continued their collaboration to produce a film about the beadmaking methods of local Native shell carvers and their work in glass factories in the Czech Republic. Her recent commission by the MFA Boston, Raven Reshapes Boston: A Native Corn Garden at the MFA, was part of their outdoor project Garden for Boston (2021), and included a collaboration with Green City Growers to plant corn, beans and sedges surrounding Cyrus Dallin’s Appeal to the Great Spirit (1909) at the MFA’s main entrance—grown in mounds using a traditional Woodlands Native American method—in the shape of a horseshoe crab and framed by crushed quahog shells.