Spirit of the Basket Tree

December 20, 2008, through June 28, 2009
Wabanaki Ash Splint Baskets from Maine



Temporary Exhibitions, Gutman Gallery


Spirit of the Basket Tree: Wabanaki Ash Splint Baskets from Maine, guest curated by Jennifer Sapiel Neptune, focuses on the rich visual dialogue between contemporary Wabanaki basket artists of Maine and the legacy of Native American basket making in northern New England and southeastern Canada. Originally created for indigenous use, baskets emerged as valued items of trade with European settlers during the colonial era. They have remained at the center of cultural exchanges between Wabanaki people and Americans of non-native descent up to the present day, serving to solidify cultural identity, perpetuate intergenerational continuity, and symbolize political sovereignty for Wabanaki tribal members through the centuries.

Jennifer Sapiel Neptune, a basket maker herself and a co-manager of the Maine Indian Basket makers Alliance (MIBA), also has written an essay for the gallery brochure that accompanies the exhibition.

Generously supported by the Frank L. Harrington 1924 Exhibition Fund.

Exhibition Curator

Jennifer Sapiel Neptune

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Exhibition subject: Native America