TRIBUTARIES:

MORGAN ASOYUF
ROYAL PORTRAIT

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JULY 24 – SEPT. 25, 2022

KEELER GALLERY

“It is a crucial time for our people to create conversations around traditional societal structures, power and leadership... we must properly acknowledge our matriarchs.” 
-  Morgan Asoyuf 

image: Ta’Kaiya Blaney, 2019, wearing the Mousewoman Oracle Crown and the Ocean Water Protection Mantle of Responsibility, with a dress designed and sewn by Morgan Asoyuf. Photograph by Patrick Shannon. 

Morgan Asoyuf, Mousewoman Oracle Crown, 2019. Silver, green amethyst, phrenite, diamonds. Artwork courtesy of the Artist. 

Morgan Asoyuf, Ocean Water Protection Mantle of Responsibility, 2019. Freshwater pearls, engraved silver, silver salmon vertebrae, green amethyst, prehnite, diamonds. Artwork courtesy of the Chow Collection. 

Morgan Asoyuf (née Green) is a Ts’msyen Eagle Clan artist from Ksyeen River (Prince Rupert area), British Columbia, Canada. Asoyuf received a Certificate of Fashion Design from the Blanche Macdonald Centre (Vancouver, BC) before apprenticing under wood sculptors Henry Green and Phil Gray. Since 2007, Asoyuf has been studying design and carving under wood sculptor Richard Adkins. Asoyuf went on to study bronze casting at The Crucible (Oakland, CA); earn diplomas in Jewelry Design and Stone Cutting from the Vancouver Metal Art School (Bowen Island, BC); and complete an intensive gem setting program at Revere Academy (San Francisco, CA). Her work has been shown at numerous Pacific Northwest events and institutions, including the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art (Vancouver, BC), the Museum of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC), the Steinbrueck Native Gallery (Seattle, WA), and Vancouver Pride Art Walk. 

Royal Portrait reimagines royal regalia and portraiture to bring attention to the importance to the Indigenous matriarch. In Ts’msyen culture, the matriarchs hold a special high-ranking position that can be both compared and contrasted to the western concept of royalty. “Royalty” or “high rank” is passed down matrilineally and signifies a responsibility to care for one’s land and people. “Today, there is much confusion and struggle in our communities in making these important decisions, especially around land,” writes Asoyuf. “Colonial governments and modern tribal councils often do not respect these inherent rights.” Through the creation of new regalia, including crowns and royal jewelry, and portraits of northwest Indigenous matriarchs and activists, Asoyuf highlights matriarchal power within the Northwest Coast system as a legitimization of Indigenous sovereignty. 

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Photo courtesy of George Lawson Photography

Derived from the Museum’s location along the Mississippi, as well as from the focus of the exhibition series, Tributaries features artists whose work is beginning to have a significant impact on the metal arts community.

EXHIBITION & PROGRAMMING SUPPORT

Windgate Charitable Foundation

Hyde Family Foundations

OPERATING SUPPORT

ArtsMemphis

Tennessee Arts Commission