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A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art
On view through March 14, 2022
Asheville Art Museum
Asheville, North Carolina

The Cherokee Syllabary is a system of writing developed by Sequoyah in the early 1800s prior to the Removal period. Through Sequoyah’s innovative work, the Cherokee people embraced the writing system as an expedient form of communication and documentation.

“A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art” features over 50 works of art in a variety of media by 30+ Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and Cherokee Nation artists. The exhibition highlights the use of the written Cherokee language, a syllabary developed by Cherokee innovator Sequoyah (circa 1776–1843). The Cherokee Syllabary is frequently found in the work of Cherokee artists as a compositional element or the subject matter of the work itself.

[Image: Rhiannon Skye Tafoya (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), Ul’nigid’, 2020, letterpress (photopolymer and Bembo & Cherokee Syllabary metal type) printed on handmade & color plan paper with paper-weaving, closed: 11 × 11 ¼ inches, assembled: 23 ½ × 11 ¼ × 5 ⁵⁄₈ inches. Courtesy the Artist. © Rhiannon Skye Tafoya, image Rhiannon Skye Tafoya.]