Indian Country Today Media Network – Art in Embassies, Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Biden Honor 5 Native Artists at the VP’s Home – Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, honored five Native American and Alaskan Native artists last night in a reception at their home in Washington DC. In addition to honoring the artists, the Bidens displayed a framed print from each of the artists on the walls of their foyer and living room.
The reception was in honor of artists Tony Abeyta (Navajo), Crystal Worl (Tlingit Athabascan), Jeff Kahm (Plains Cree), Courtney Leonard (Shinnecock Nation) and Dan Namingha (Tewa-Hopi) as well as a celebration of a collaboration between the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies (AIE) and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA).
The five artists were commissioned by the AIE and IAIA to create 10 pieces of art each, that will be exhibited at U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world.
Dr. Biden was the first to address the approximately 100 guests.
“Your artwork represents rich and vibrant cultures that have thrived on this continent for a millennium, every color, shape and stroke on the canvas brings to life a connection with your roots and your ancestors,” she said.
When Dr. Biden added with a smile, “There is an old adage that says art outlives politics,” the room erupted with laughter and applause.
Both AIE Director Ellen Susman and IAIA President Robert Martin lauded the efforts of the artists and expressed appreciation for a successful collaboration between the two agencies.
After addressing the room, Martin presented a blanket to Dr. Jill Biden and then introduced the Vice President.
Vice President Biden first joked that now that Dr. Biden had a warm blanket, “She won’t need me anymore,” causing the crowd to laugh and applaud.Biden welcomed the crowd and applauded the artists. He spoke of how he traveled the world and in over a million miles of travel hears more about Indian arts and culture than anything else.
“The one thing I think Jill enjoys most about this job is the opportunity every six or eight weeks to change the art. It has been a joy,” he said.
The Vice President expressed his appreciation for the artwork created by the artists and the importance of tribal relations to the Obama administration. “Barack and I have tried very hard to strengthen the nation’s through tribal sovereignty,” said Biden.
Biden also mentioned his efforts to bring awareness to the importance of climate change to Indian Nations, the importance of the Affordable Care Act and of the Violence Against Women Act.
“I hope we are doing something to make up for a century of not-so-good stewardship,” he said.
Biden then thanked the largely Native audience for the “very richness of Native American culture. Thanks for enriching our lives.”
Image and article courtesy of Vincent Shilling, full article at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/10/28/dr-jill-biden-and-vice-president-biden-honor-5-native-artists-vps-home-162250