Native art exhibit unveiled at museum

“A Warning Ahead, 2017” by Jerrel Singer shows “the dangers of uranium mines on The navajo reservation.” The piece
is part of the “Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology” exhibit seen at MFSM.
Vanguard Photographer | Sarah Brege

Saginaw Valley State University’s Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum unveiled its “Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology” showcase on Sept. 10.

This exhibit documents international Indigenous artists and their personal response to the impacts of nuclear testing on Native people. The artists used their voice to talk about the long-term effects of the disasters on Indigenous communities not only in the United States but around the world.

The musems’s Curator of Education Andrea Ondish explained about the artists.

“They use art to tell their stories about colonialism and the effects of uranium mining and nuclear testing,” Ondish said

From photography, to film and paintings, the exhibit has much to express.

One painting named Outside was explained by Ondish.

“This is a self-portrait of an Inuit woman who is holding her stomach which is a symbol of reproduction,” she said.

In that painting, the artist has a horse head masking her own as warning for the biological defects of radiation poisoning on future generations.

Jane Benale symbolizes unsafe living conditions after miners return home with toxic yellow dust from uranium mines in her weavings titled “When They Came Home, 2017. “ Vanguard Photographer | Sarah Brege

The Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum is a free museum consisting of a sculpture garden and 200 original sculptures by Marshall Fredericks.

Fredericks was a known artist in the area who had a 70-year career. He is known both nationally and internationally. His sculptures include memorials, fountains, portraits and medals.

The museum claims its goal is to “celebrate the artistic legacy of Marshall Fredericks through collecting, preserving, presenting, and interpreting his life’s work for the educational and cultural enrichment of Saginaw Valley State University.”

The museum is also putting on another exhibit as well: “Rethinking Monuments: American Sculpture in its Time 1850-2000.”

The exhibit frames history from 1850 to 2000. It explores the reception of American sculpture and looks at it through a contemporary debate.

The exhibit was originally opened at the Krasl Art Center in May 2022. It’s planned to stop at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in January 2023.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free but donations are always welcome.

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