wampum, milkweed plant two ply, logwood dye, sterling silver


Resilience, 2022, wampum, milkweed plant two ply, logwood dye, sterling silver. Courtesy of the artist. 

September 12, 2023-January 7, 2024

As an artist-in-residence at Amherst College from fall 2021 to spring 2022, Elizabeth James-Perry of the Aquinnah Wampanoag shared her traditional ecological knowledge and art practice with the campus community. She co-taught courses with Professor Lisa Brooks and worked closely with participating students and members of the Native and Indigenous Students Association (NISA). Among her numerous contributions, James-Perry’s mounded Sea Turtle garden at the Book & Plow Farm is a standout and a nod to her island Wampanoag identity. The garden, which features Indigenous food plants, critically connects to the work that will be on view in the Mead’s exhibition. 

Seeping In, Coursing Through is conceived from her experiences of place in the Connecticut River Valley, as well as the experiences of Native ancestors who came through the region during historical periods of adversity. James-Perry’s creative gardening practice has created a channel for processing time and trauma, and the erasure of humans and landscapes. The exhibition features new watercolor paintings, wampum, and quillwork that reflect her impressions and Native perspective on the intersections of time and place, continuance and regeneration. James-Perry’s art practice, which centers natural fibers, dyes, and quahog shells, is entwined with her deep knowledge of ethnobotany and restorative gardening. The exhibition will also include new work by Patricia and Jonathan James-Perry, Elizabeth’s mother and brother, exploring affinities among their practices.