As the Director of Red Earth Studio Consulting/Productions, Nadema Agard is a curator, educator, museum professional and consultant in Repatriation and Multicultural/Native American arts and cultures.
Ms. Agard was born, raised and educated in New York City. In 1970, she graduated from New York University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Art Education. In 1973 she received a Masters Degree in Art and Education from Teacher's College, Columbia University. As a Native American (Cherokee-Lakota-Powhatan) who has been educated and traveled internationally, she has been a bridge between urban and traditional cultures.
Ms. Agard, a former Art Educator with the New York City Board of Education became the Museum Educator/Project Director of the Native American Arts Program at the Museum of the American Indian (MAI) in 1981. At MAI she later received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to develop the SOUTHEASTERN NATIVE ARTS DIRECTORY. Upon leaving the MAI, she continued her work as a Scholar in Residence at the Phelps Stokes Institute in New York and later as an adjunct instructor at Bemidji State University (BSU) in Minnesota where her Directory was eventually published in 1993. At BSU she taught studio arts, art methods, Multicultural and Native American arts. She consulted nationally and worked locally with the Plains Art Museum of Minnesota to co-author OJIBWE AND LAKOTA, A CULTURAL COMPARISON for the Native American Suitcase, an educational outreach project.
In 1995 She became the first Repatriation Director for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and was also a consultant to Sitting Bull College and the North Dakota State Historical Society.
In 2000, Ms. Agard accepted a position at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) to supervise and develop the Native Artists Program for Research and Residency Fellowships. During her time at the NMAI, she coordinated The NATIVE ARTS SYMPOSIUM 2001: CROSSING SPIRITUAL BORDERS, MAPPING INDIGENOUS BOUNDARIES: EXPLORING THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF SACRED FEMININE ICONOCRAPHY IN WOMEN'S ART.
Since 2002, Nadema has consulted with and lectured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Scholastic, Inc., The Graduate Center, City University of New York
In 2003, she was nominated and awarded the Ingrid Washinawatok Award for Community Activism, wrote for Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations and was Chair of WARRIOR MOTHER SPIRIT: NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN’S PANEL DISCUSSION sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities. In 2004 she was received a Rhode Island Council for the Humanities grant as Project Director and Panel Chair for POCAHONTAS’ LEGEND AND REALITY:AN ALGONQUIAN LEGACY.
Synopsis of Lectures & Workshops
Adult & Family Presentations
Amazon: Our Native Genesis is a multimedia presentation that explores the idea of Genesis from an indigenous perspective citing examples that show strong connections between the indigenous people of the American cradle of civilization in the Amazon and those who migrated northward and elsewhere.
Aztec-Lakota: A Connection of Memory is a multimedia presentation that explores the similarities between the Lakota and their Southern relatives through language, cosmology and spiritual beliefs using images and anecdotes.
Clowns & Coyotes is a multimedia presentation that focuses on the sacredness of humor, of the various trickster and clown figures in Native American traditions and how some have evolved to become part of American popular culture.
Cosmic Mothers of the Four Directions is a slide presentation and discussion from a multicultural perspective with a focus on the Corn Mother of the Americas and her counterparts in the other three-quarters of the world like the goddesses of ancient Greek in Latin Europe, the African goddesses of Egypt and Nigeria, the Hindu goddesses of India and the Buddhist goddesses of Asia.
Coyolxauhqui as a Cosmic Codex is a multimedia presentation that explores the symbolism and iconography of this Aztec Goddess of the Moon with references to mythology, sacred geometry and astronomy.
Flowers and Skulls is a multimedia presentation about the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) with emphasis on the symbolism and meaning behind this Mexican holiday from an Indigenous perspective. Using slides and a short video clip, this presentation will highlight the works of art (e.g. calaveras), sugar skulls, altars and cemetery scenes associated with and inspired by this ancient traditions of Meso- Americans.
Goddesses of the Americas: The Sacred Feminine In Native American Cosmology is a multimedia presentation that will explore the images and symbolism of various Native American feminine sacred figures represented in the arts, their interconnection with our spirituality and how the arts are often vehicles for our sacred communication.
Guadalupe: Aztec Virgin Mother is a visual journey into the exploration of the iconography of the Virgin of Guadalupe as her different incarnation of Jaguar, Butterfly, Rattlesnake and Hummingbird and the symbolism of each according to indigenous knowledge.
Matrix of Wisdom & Knowledge is a discussion about the medicine wheel symbol that employs the circle and the four directions and how this Native American codex explains the cosmos and the relationships of the context and content of our existence and a dynamics of human existence on a global level.
Native American Traditional & Contemporary Art is a multimedia presentation that will explore the images and symbolism of art from the Northeast, Great Lakes Woodlands, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, West Coast, Artic and Pacific Island art by Indigenous pre-contact and modern day visual artists.
Pacifica America is a multimedia presentation of the comparison of Native American and Pacific Islander cultures using the visual arts, oral histories, mythology, song and dances.
Prairie Visions of Starblanket Heaven is multimedia presentation that engages visual images of prairie vistas, morning star quilts, traditional Lakota music, inspired artwork and readings from “Prairie Daze”, a compilation of humorous stories about life on the reservation.
Repatriation and the Sacred Arts of Native America is a multimedia presentation that discusses the relationship of art and the sacred within Indigenous communities, the spiritual dimensions of repatriation and its impact on the larger society.
Sisters Artists of the Americas : Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe and Emily Carr is a slide presentations that compares and contrast the lives of these monumental women artists from Canada, United States and Mexico.
Spirit Visions: Aesthetics of Native Women Artists will explore the spiritual aesthetics of Native American women and focus on the kind of art these women do and how their artwork connects them with the cosmos. This multimedia presentation will also include a discussion about the ‘parfleche’ (rawhide) designs of the Northern Plains women and the gift of Double Woman, a sacred feminine being of the Lakota people of the great Sioux nation.
Sun, Moon & Stars: Symbolism in Native American Arts and Culture is a multimedia presentation about images and sounds of Native American traditional and contemporary arts and music as representations of the sun, moon, and stars with a discussion of star theology, oral history and ceremonial events like Spring Equinox.
Three Sisters is multimedia presentation about the role of Corn, Beans and Squash in the art, music, spirituality, cultural history and agriculture of Native Americans of the North America and Meso America, with emphasis on Meso American, Southeastern, Southwestern, Southeastern and Northeastern Indigenous peoples.
Who Is the Virgin of Guadalupe: Women Artists Crossing Borders is a presentation with music slides and video clips that describes an exhibition of the same title by the guest curator about work of Native women visual artists who make claim to the Virgin not as a Catholic and Mexican icon but as an Indigenous symbol of the earth for all of the Americas and perhaps the world.
Adult Art Workshops
Humor in Art: A Confluence Of Culturally Disparate
is an art workshop and slide talk about Native American sacred clowns, humor a sacred medicine with healing properties and art that display humor. The workshop will teach how to use images from Native culture with American pop culture to create humorous images.
Multivision: Four Ways of Looking At Art is a two part art workshop with a slide and video presentation as introduction to a hands-on application where the creation of portraits will be done from four different cultural windows
Portraits of Mother Earth is an art workshop and slide talk about Native American traditional/historical and contemporary examples of work made from the earth like pottery and baskets of sweet-grass (earth mother braid), work that is abstract and representational including Northern Plains ‘Parfleches’ and ‘Winter Counts’ and contemporary examples of Native American artwork.
Sacred Animals of the Americas: Jaguar, Rattle Snake, Butterfly and Hummingbird is an art workshop based on the iconography of the Aztec Goddess Tonantzin using sculptural elements of mask making, bas-relief and mixed media to create artwork inspired by Indigenous cosmology.
Family Art Workshops
Birds of the Four Sacred Colors is a mobile and paper sculpture art project that engages the symbolic four colors in the Native American Medicine Wheel, using those colors as a metaphor for all humanity.
Cherokee Morning Star Collaborative Collage Quilt is a family art activity that will share Cherokee song, story and traditional dance movement to inspire an art activity and creative movement based on the four elements (earth, fire,water and air).
Diamond Rattlers, is a family art activity about making paper sculpture rattlesnakes and experiencing Southeastern Native American song, story and traditional dance movement of the Mississippi Choctaws inspired by the gift of geometry given to Native Americans the Diamondback Rattlesnake.
Flowers and Skulls: Papel Picado Workshop is a workshop on how to make cut tissue paper called ‘Papel Picado’ as decorative banners for the Day of the Dead called ‘Dia de los Muertos’ celebration in Mexico using the symbols of death and life.
Lakota Moon Calendar is a family art workshop where each Lakota (Sioux) month will be depicted as a collage in a group collaboration to make a year long calendar.
Masks of the Four Directions is a family art workshop inspired by the vision of Black Elk, a famed Lakota holy man, from the book by John Neidhardt, entitled " Black Elk Speaks".
Mitakuye Oyasin Morningstar Quilt Collage is a collaborative family art activity that will engage the star symbol of the Lakota traditions with sacred colors of the four directions, each using symbols of African, Native American, Asian and Caucasian cultures.
Mobiles of the Four Directions is a family art project based on the four directions and their significance to Native Americans.
Mobiles of the Four Seasons is a family art project based on the four seasons from a Native American perspective.
Parfleche & Bandolier is a family art project based on the Northern Plains abstract designs and the Woodland floral beadwork, which in a collaborative way, produces a blend of the two using paper of different textures.
Turtle Moons is an art presentation and workshop based on the lunar cycles and the relationship of the moon to the turtle to. 3-D Paper sculpture will be transformational collaboration between turtle forms and lunar phases.