Shinnecock Nation Artist Has Two Shows On Long Island

Courtney M. Leonard is having her first retrospective and first solo museum exhibition in New York at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, N.Y.

The exhibition is on display through November 13. Leonard also has an outdoor installation on display at the Planting Fields Foundation in Oyster Bay, N.Y., to summer 2024.

An enrolled member of Long Island’s Shinnecock Indian Nation, Leonard creates immersive installations that the museum said “encompass ceramic sculpture, painting, and video. Informed by historical research and drawing on cross-cultural art traditions including wampum beadwork, scrimshaw and blue and white Delftware, her work champions environmental sustainability and Indigenous cultural viability.”

The exhibitions at the museum and Planting Fields, the museum continued, “explore themes of food and cultural sovereignty, as well as ongoing ecological issues that endanger the Shinnecock Nation and Long Island as a whole.”

Three of the Heckscher Museum’s galleries contain over a dozen individual artworks, including one of Leonard’s signature, room-sized, immersive installations, composed of contour mapping lines painted on gallery walls, video projection and ceramics installed in unexpected configurations.

Also on display is an approximately eight-foot-long wall hanging that explores the moment of colonial contact on Long Island; this maps “the contours of the island with thousands of individual clay thumbprints resembling shells. . .(with) each thumbprint (becoming) a maker’s mark indexing the artist’s contact with the earth,” the museum said.

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