moss dangling from trees like Rapunzels hair. Yellow alligator
eyes peering out of the murky waters of the bayou. A daytime cacophony
of cicadas and a nighttime symphony of frogs and crickets. An aura
of Old World charm and moldy decay that makes you wonder if vampires
truly do roam the streets at night.
These are the sights and sounds of my
southern Louisiana home. What plants, animals, and people live where
you live? How would you imagine them? How would you draw them?
Native peoples have been depicting the
world around them for centuries, to document their daily lives and
express themselves artistically. Where We Live: A Puzzle Book of
American Indian Art, the imagiNATIONS Activity Centers inaugural
publication, invites young readers to explore the different ways
that contemporary American Indian artists use their imaginations
to draw where they live. This fun, vibrantly colored book includes
eight 16-piece jigsaw puzzles made from contemporary artworks in
the National Museum of the American Indians collections.
The most enjoyable aspect of putting this
book together was selecting the images to turn into puzzles. As
you can imagine, there are thousands of beautiful objects in the
museums collections to choose from, so we turned to our visitors
for help. The Publications Office and the imagiNATIONS Activity
Center project team worked with the museums Web Development
Office to create our first online survey. The survey was promoted
on the museums website and Facebook profile, and within days
we had hundreds of responses. Surveys were also conducted with visitors
here at the museum. The results are the eight stunning artworks
found in this book, which reflect a range of landscapes throughout
the Western Hemisphere.
Rolled into the concept of home is also
the idea of protecting natural resources and preserving homelands
for future generations. Indigenous peoples have deep ties to the
land, which are often explored in the works of contemporary Native
artists. As the threat of global warming and other environmental
calamities increases, it is often Native communities that feel the
effects first. Scientists and academics are closely watching Native
responses to the changes and learning from the vast environmental
knowledge that these communities have accumulated over the millennia.
Where We Live: A Puzzle Book of American
Indian Art will be available mid-Novemberjust in time for
the holidaysin the museums gift shops and on the website.
The National Museum of the American Indian is grateful to its constituents
for helping us create such a captivatingly visual book for our young
readers. We invite you to take a journey with the books eight
Native artists to their homes near and far, and to think about why
it is important to care for the land we share with others.
Just beware the vampires!