Its Honor is Here Pledged · Gina Adams

Following the critical and popular success of the Nerman Museum’s recent exhibition of its estimable contemporary American Indian art collection, the Nerman will present installations by Gina Adams and Natalie Ball within three of the museum’s second-floor galleries.

Lawrence, Kansas-based artist Gina Adams (of Ojibwa ancestry) will exhibit new works utilizing vintage quilts – all overlaid with text drawn from historic treaties between the U.S. government and Native peoples. The quilts will be suspended within the museum’s Cohen Gallery, creating an installation that envelops the viewer.

As Adams states, “My installation 'Its Honor Is Here Pledged' addresses particular, painful moments in so-called modern time: when 'white man' broke his promises over and over again to the original peoples of America: Native Americans.

“I have been cutting out the letters of entire broken treaties, pacts written by the U.S. government and signed by Native American tribes,” Adams states. “These pacts promised tribes money and power in exchange for the rich lands they had called home for possibly thousands of years. The government took the land; however, the tribes were left penniless.
“I have chosen to use calico fabric for the text, as it was the first industrialized commodity that was made in the United States for export to Europe. This fabric made many white men wealthy. I have chosen to place the broken treaty text onto vintage quilts that appear worn and broken.

“Quilting is thoroughly American; the quilt and quilting bees symbolize community and the promise to work together as a group to finish a major endeavor. While it is difficult to know who made the original quilts used for this project, there is reason to believe they had been discarded due to their worn appearance. In my view, not unlike how Native people have been treated – as disposable.

“Sewing together injustice with an object of comfort stirs deep emotions, for I, as all people of Native American descent, have carried a heart-wrenching history, a burden and a loss. Now I choose to weave that over-arching sadness into a source of tremendous comfort.”