Adapting in style


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Maria Mingalone, director of interpretation at the Berkshire Museum, showed in the Berkshire museum's collection an adaptation of a Union officer's jacket, made in buckskin, with dyed porcupine quill patterns in iridescent dark red, silver, black and cream.

"It's the hippest re-adaptation," she said. "It's so exciting when you see it that way, as adaptable, smart and creative. We are celebrating that spirit through time."

The museum's summer exhibit will combine objects from the collection with the work of contemporary art ists who experiment with new media and new technologies and skills.

Bently Spang, a North ern Cheyenne writer, curator and artist, told Ming alone he feels performance and film grow naturally from his people's traditions. They performed stories and told them in images, as he does.

Spang makes warrior shirts out of photographs of his family and their home places, with fringes of film negatives. When the Chey enne fought on the plains, a woman would make a warrior shirt for her son or husband and endow it with living objects, to give him power and keep him safe. So these shirts were made with the people and places the warriors knew, animate in some tangible thing. Spang makes his shirts in the same spirit, Mingalone said.

He told her that among the Cheyenne, women also became warriors.


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