Through a focus on Lenape art, culture, and history and a critical examination of historical visualizations of Native and European American relationships, Never Broken explores the ways in which art can create, challenge, and rewrite history. This richly illustrated volume features contemporary work by Lenape artists in dialogue with historic Lenape ceramics, beadwork, and other cultural objects as well as re-creations of Benjamin West’s painting Penn’s Treaty with the Indians by European American artists.
Published in conjunction with the first exhibition in Pennsylvania of contemporary Lenape artists who can trace their families back to the time of William Penn, Never Broken includes essays by Laura Turner Igoe, Joel Whitney, and Joe Baker. Igoe argues that the plethora of prints, paintings, and decorative arts that incorporated imagery from West’s iconic painting over a century after the depicted event attempted to replace the fraught history of Native and Anglo-American conflict with a myth of peaceful coexistence and succession. Whitney’s essay provides an overview of the culture of the Lenape and their forced removal out of Pennsylvania and the northeast to Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Ontario. Finally, Baker highlights how he and the other contemporary Lenape artists featured in the exhibition, including Ahchipaptunhe (Delaware Tribe of Indians and Cherokee), Holly Wilson (Delaware Nation and Cherokee), and Nathan Young (Delaware Tribe of Indians, Pawnee, and Kiowa), tell their own stories rooted in memory, ancestry, oral history. Their work underscores the continuing legacy and evolution of Lenape visual expression and cross-cultural exchange, reasserts the agency of their Lenape ancestors, and establishes that the Lenape’s ties to the area were—unlike Penn’s Treaty—never broken.
Contributors: Joe Baker, Laura Turner Igoe, Joel Whitney
Foreword and Acknowledgements, Vail. P. Garvin
Introduction, Joe Baker and Laura Turner Igoe
Penn’s Treaty with the Indians: Myth-Making Across Media, Laura Turner Igoe
Violence and the Forced Removals of the Lenape, Joel Whitney
Nèk Elànkumàchi Maehëleyok: The Relatives Gathered, Joe Baker
Joe Baker is an artist, educator, curator, and culture bearer who has been working in the field of Native Arts for the past thirty years. He is an enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and co-founder and executive director of the Lenape Center in Manhattan. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and numerous other museums and collections in the United States and Canada, including the American Museum of Art and Design. Laura Turner Igoe, PhD, is the Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. At the Michener, she curated Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art (2019), Rising Tides: Contemporary Art and the Ecology of Water (2020), and she co-curated Through the Lens: Modern Photography in the Delaware Valley (2021) and Daring Design: The Impact of Three Women on Wharton Esherick’s Craft (2021-22).