Balancing tradition and innovation in Cherokee art.
Cherokee artists have learned from their families and community the age-old techniques and aesthetics of their culture, using materials native to the Southern Appalachians and calling upon traditions passed down for many generations. Yet, they are also innovators of artistic expression. Many Cherokee artists weave in these traditional approaches while drawing upon influences from the wider art community. The results are complex and beautiful. Just as the Cherokee people throughout history have continually learned to reinvent themselves while holding true to their essential Cherokee identity, so are the Cherokee artists of today.
The Bears Project
The Bears Project started in 2005 with the intention of showcasing the variety of talented artists within the Qualla Boundary. A committee researched several concepts prior to selecting a bear theme, as they intended to produce something that would be culturally significant. Bears are a large part of the Cherokee culture and appear in many of the stories and legends that the Cherokee people hold sacred.