Re-imagining Gloucester 2023

Aug. 8, 2023 — Oct. 22, 2023

On display now through October 22, at the Cape Ann Museum is artwork created by Erica Campbell, a contemporary Nipmuc artist from Worcester, MA.  Campbell’s work was inspired by and is a reaction to Beauport, Historic New England’s Sleeper-McCann House, located on Eastern Point here in Gloucester, and to objects on display inside the house.  Developed in partnership with Historic New England, Campbell’s installation reflects on the presence, erasure and persistence of Indigenous life and representation in Gloucester as the city commemorates the 400th anniversary of English colonization.  The artwork was on display at Beauport earlier this year.

In speaking of her work, Erica Campbell notes that it was inspired by an early 19th century wooden bandbox and a late 19th century hooked rug, both from the collection of Historic New England, and by the waters of Gloucester Harbor as seen from Beauport.  The bandbox and the rug will be on display along with Campbell’s artwork at the Cape Ann Museum.  Campbell’s work is rich in color and symbology related to Eastern Woodlands culture and, in the artist’s own words, “can be seen on an abstract level as connecting what can be seen and felt through the natural world while reflecting on our histories and material cultures.” 

This special installation of Erica Campbell’s artwork is part of CAM’s larger Native Initiative which aims to acknowledge the important and complex history of Native peoples stretching back more than 10,000 years through to present day.  Also on display at the Cape Ann Museum this summer are Native objects on loan from the Peabody Essex Museum including three drills recovered from the Bull Brook archeological site in current-day Ipswich and a contemporary basket and pot. A traditional wetu frame was built at the Cape Ann Museum Green in May 2023 as part of Native Waters; Native Lands and is open to the public when then campus is open.

Image: Erica Campbell, Balance of Colors, 2023. Mixed media including acrylic and watercolor. Collection of the artist.

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