%C2%A9 Anita Fields
Wool, satin, silk, embroidery, beads, clay buttonsexpand_more
The Jane and James Emison Endowment for Native American Artexpand_more 2019.42.1
When delegations of Osage men traveled to Washington, D.C., for negotiations with the United States government in the early 1800s, they often received gifts of top hats and military regalia. The clothing often didn’t fit, however, so Osage women incorporated them into their wedding attire, modified to reflect an Osage aesthetic. They added silk ribbon work, finger woven yarn belts, and trade buttons to the coats, and brightly colored feather plumes and French ribbons to the hats.
Artist Anita Fields created this contemporary, artistic version of an Osage wedding coat to reference the issues that effect and define modern Osage people: colonization, oil economics, imposed archaic policies and treaties, versus an Osage belief system based on acknowledgement of nature, and a worldview reflecting their creation story.
Anita Fields has incorporated historic materials and knowledge into a contemporary artwork, referencing Osage culture, history, ethos, and current life. It’s a spectacular ensemble that reflects Osage tradition and cosmology as well as a contemporary artist’s reimagining of that tradition. This work is the first Wedding Coat made with historic photos that capture important moments in Osage history.
© Anita Fields