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Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669),
Portrait of Dirck van Os , c. 1658
oil on canvas, 40 3/4 x 34 1/2 in.
Museum purchase, 1942.30. Photograph © Bruce M. White, 2019

Through exhibitions, permanent collection acquisitions, and programming, Joslyn is working to elevate and amplify perspectives that historically have been underrepresented in the galleries. The Museum recognizes the potential of interpretation to highlight the diverse histories, beliefs, and practices embodied in works of art. With OMAHA SPEAKS, we look to broaden the conventional interpretation of objects in our permanent collection by introducing commentary from leaders in our community.

Sarah Rowe, artist. Member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Lakota Nation

Eyes like ships meet across the divide
Centuries and lands united by the glint of a soulful eye
A bridge of light preserved, drowning out ships carrying the shadows of genocide

I learned to draw by studying the Dutch masters. Rembrandt’s eyes are powerful ships. They drift in a dreamlike space outside of fear. I find a space of reconciliation on the bridge of light between his eyes and mine. I visit this painting and I am reconnected with my own master, my art mother, painting in her studio just a short train ride away from Amsterdam, Rembrandt’s home. Peering into this sitter’s eyes is a mystical experience, a conversation, a deep reflection. Rembrandt’s subjects are alive, contemplative, a muddy and reflective mystery. My art mother and I are connected by Inipi, the sweat lodge, and by the marks of Rembrandt’s hand. We are a constellation of beings tuned into the energy of the muses.

When I create images of my Heyoka, the sacred clown of the Lakota, her limbs are so long that they have the power to unfurl and wrap around the world. I seek to create a similar bridge of light and reconciliation between nations and across time.

Sarah Rowe (Member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Lakota Nation) is a visual artist utilizing methods of painting, textiles, performance, and Native American ceremony in unconventional ways. Rowe’s work is participatory, a call to action, and reimagines traditional Indigenous symbology to fit the narrative of today’s global landscape. Rowe's imagined landscapes are bold and vibrant, containing a shape-shifting bestiary of tales both familiar and strange. Rowe received her BA from Webster University, studying in St. Louis, Missouri, and Vienna, Austria. She is of Lakota and Ponca descent.

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