Shan Goshorn was a respected Cherokee artist who initially became known for her deeply personal work in the 1990s as a photographer and mixed media artist. She became best known for her paper baskets which combined historical imagery and text with traditional Cherokee basket-weaving techniques. Chief Antoine Moise is part of a series of works based on her research in the archives of the National Museum of the American Indian: “I was awed by the clear, honest studio portraits commissioned by the photographer Frank Rinehart, 1898 Indian Congress, Omaha, Nebraska. Held in conjunction with the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, this gathering attracted over 500 native members of 35 different tribes. Viewing these photos led me to wonder about the courage and adaptability of these Indian men and women who were curious enough about their quickly changing world to travel to the event. These portraits are unique in that they are a ‘non-exotifying’ collection, simply recording the participants as they were without the glamor of special backgrounds or added props.”
The interior, printed with a vivid blue background, adds the translated text of a Cherokee memorial song, including the words, “We remember your sacrifices. You will not be forgotten.” The words and images honor her ancestors, both as individuals and carriers of tradition. This basket is constructed with a Cherokee style single-weave known as ‘Chief’s Heart.’ Goshorn stated: “These pieces are meant to honor these ancestors, who formed the basic support for the ongoing work of Native activists today. Their blood is our blood; their strength is our strength. Our hearts are linked by the dedication we show every day to our people.”
—Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art
Shan Goshorn (American and Cherokee, 1957-2018). Chief Antoine Moise, 2015. Arches watercolor paper, pigment ink, acrylic. Gift of Charles Froelick, 2021.1.2. Photo by Mario Gallucci, courtesy of Froelick Gallery and Shan Goshorn Estate.