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PastWeaving History into Art: The Enduring Legacy of Shan Goshorn

January 15, 2021 - March 28, 2021


Weaving History into Art: The Enduring Legacy of Shan Goshorn features the art of Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee, 1957-2018) and her legacy of influence carried forward through the works of four contemporary Native American women artists.

Shan Goshorn was internationally recognized for weaving archival documents and photographs into baskets using traditional Cherokee techniques to create historical, political and cultural commentary on Native American issues that continue to resonate in the 21st century.

Central to the exhibition is the premier of SQUAW, the last work Goshorn completed prior to her passing. SQUAW was inspired by the Venus de Milo, an iconic symbol of female beauty. Juxtaposing this model with the title SQUAW creates a tension and contrast to the Western ideal of beauty against a pejorative used to reduce Native women to disposable sexual commodities. SQUAW will serve as a catalyst for much needed conversations on why indigenous women suffer disproportionately higher rates of violence than non-Native women and the judicial system’s reluctance to prosecute these crimes.

Goshorn’s artistic legacy is also represented and complimented by the art of four Native American women whose works reflects Shan’s influence and vision: Carol Emarthle-Douglas (Northern Arapahoe/Seminole) is well-regarded for her traditional and contemporary baskets, jewelry and paintings; Anita Fields (Osage/Muscogee Creek), is nationally recognized for her unique contemporary ceramic sculptures, mixed-media installations, traditional Osage ribbon work, and as an arts educator; Lisa Rutherford (Cherokee), a textile artist, potter and maker of traditional Cherokee clothing, beadwork, and baskets; Holly Wilson (Delaware/Cherokee), a contemporary multi-media artist whose works include bronzes, encaustics, photography, glass and clay.

Through Goshorn’s hand-woven basketry, Weaving History into Art will encourage engaging, empathetic interactions with difficult subjects, including the loss of Native homelands, cultural genocide, violence directed at Native women and inappropriate cultural appropriation in a non-threatening experience that promotes informed dialogue among Native and non-Native audiences alike.

Exhibition Catalogue

Exhibition Catalogue Front CoverExperience the exhibition from home with the Weaving History into Art: The Enduring Legacy of Shan Goshorn exhibition catalogue. Containing information and images of each piece featured in the exhibition, this catalogue supplements the exhibition experience. The catalogue is available online and at the Gilcrease Shop.

Purchase the Weaving History into Art exhibition catalogue.

Gilcrease Museum

1400 N Gilcrease Museum Rd Tulsa, OK 74127

Date & Time

January 15, 2021 - March 28, 2021



Support for this exhibition has been provided by:
Robin F. Ballenger
Cherokee Nation
Lisa and Mark Dolph
Sharon J. Bell and Gregory A. Gray
John and Mary Ann Bumgarner
Brenda Toineeta Pipestem and Wilson Pipestem
James T. Bialac
Johnna and Mark Thurston
Sue and David Halpern

Gilcrease Museum’s 2020 exhibition season is made possible by:
The C.W. Titus Foundation
Arts Alliance Tulsa
Members of the Gilcrease Council

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

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More Videos

The Legacy of Shan Goshorn

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Explore the legacy of Shan Goshorn in this short film by FireThief Productions preceded by an interview with film director Sterlin Harjo and our curator of history Mark Dolph.

Sealed Fate; Treaty of New Echota Protest Basket

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In this video, learn more about Goshorn’s piece “Sealed Fate; Treaty of New Echota Protest Basket,” which explores how treaty-making and nation-to-nation relations have affected the dispossession of Indigenous lands. Take a closer look at this piece in our online collections.

The Enduring Legacy of Shan Goshorn

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Weaving History into Art features the art of Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee, 1957-2018) and highlights her influence on the work of four contemporary Native American women artists. In this video, discover how Goshorn’s legacy is represented in and complemented by the art of Carol Emarthle-Douglas (Northern Arapahoe/Seminole), Anita Fields (Osage/Muscogee Creek), Lisa Rutherford (Cherokee) and Holly Wilson (Delaware/Cherokee).

Separating the Chaff: Indigenous Stereotypes and Self-Representation

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In this video by our Jack and Maxine Zarrow Curator for Indigenous Art and Culture, Dr. Chelsea Herr, explore Shan Goshorn’s piece Separating the Chaff in anticipation of Weaving History into Art opening October 9.

Historically used to sift corn—and later, wheat—winnowing baskets separate the usable and unusable parts of the grain by straining the husks through the open weave and leaving the kernels in the basket. Goshorn adapted this type of form in her piece Separating the Chaff, referring to the stereotypical representations of Indigenous peoples as expendable—like the chaff, and Indigenous self-representation as necessary—like the kernels.

Shan Goshorn, Separating the Chaff, 2012
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma
The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection, 2010

They Were Called Kings

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Take a closer look at artist Shan Goshorn’s (Eastern Band Cherokee, 1957-2018) amazing ability to weave historical events and people into her art in this video exploring her trio of baskets, They Were Called Kings.

Weaving History into Art: Basket Making

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Explore the art of weaving with education and program specialist Danielle Culp. In this video, Danielle gives an overview of Cherokee basketmaking and demonstrates basic weaving technique.

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