WASHINGTON, Conn.—Mi’kmaq/Metis artist Monica Alexander has been named artist of the month at the Institute for American Indian Studies.
Alexander is a self-taught porcupine quill and bead artist of Mi’kmaq heritage. The Mi’kmaq, also spelled Micmac, are a maritime tribe from the northeastern United States and Canada and one of the tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes the Penobscot, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy nations.
Mi’kmaq artists are known for their porcupine quillwork, moose hair embroidery and their unique style of painted leather regalia decorated with carved bone, shells, and quills. Today, their regalia reflect several hundred years of European influence, particularly that of the French.
An exhibit of Alexander’s work will open on Tuesday, March 1 and run through Wednesday March 20 at the IAIS museum gift shop. Alexander will be on hand for a special “Meet the Artist” event on March 13 from noon to 2 p.m. Included in Alexander’s exhibit are a painted leather vest, quill and beaded jewelry, as well as beaded leather bags and hair barrettes. On display with her crafts will be models of three traditional styles of Eastern Woodland wigwams. Ms Alexander and her family live in East Otis, MA.
The Institute for American Indian Studies is a nonprofit organization started in 1975to house the growing collection of founder Edmund K. “Ned” Swigart, an instructor at the Gunnery School. A Research and Collections building was fully completed in 2002 and houses a state of the art climate controlled storage facility, laboratory, research and education libraries (open by appointment only), conference hall and additional offices. IAIS has one of the most extensive collections of baskets and other artisan products by eastern woodlands’ tribes and an extensive education program serving around 15,000 school children each year. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. for more information go to www.birdstone.org