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Jeffrey Gibson, They Come From Fire, Portland Art Museum

An immersive, site-responsive installation by multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson, They Come From Fire will transform the exterior windows on the facade of the museum’s main building as well as its two-story interior Schnitzer Sculpture Court. This dynamic work will celebrate Portland’s Indigenous history, presence and vitality through the use of suspended glass panels, text, and photographic imagery created with Indigenous, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ artists, and other community members on and around the empty monument pedestals in the Park blocks in front of the museum. Coinciding with a survey of Dakota modernist Oscar Howe, the installation will serve as a bridge between the museum’s contemporary and Native American art collections.

On the windows, Gibson Indigenizes the Museum through color, design, and text with “TIMELINE.” The selection of moments foregrounds the history of the region that impacted Native people for over 200 years. Inside, the artist worked with Bullseye Studio on 12 suspended glass panels. These evoke protest posters and project color and light onto a wall of photo portraits that raise up Indigenous, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ artists and community members.

“They Come From Fire” was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Arts.