Skip navigation

Jolene K. Rickard

Jolene K. Rickard

Associate Professor of History of Art & Visual Studies, Cornell University

Organizer of:

Jolene Rickard, born 1956 citizen of the Tuscarora nation, Turtle clan, is an artist, curator and visual historian at Cornell University, specializing in indigenous peoples issues. Rickard co-curated two of the four permanent exhibitions for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Rickard, granddaughter of Tuscarora chief Clinton Rickard, was born in 1956 at Niagara Falls, New York. In 1977 Jolene Rickard attended the London College of Printmaking. She received her BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and in 1991 she graduated with an MA from Buffalo State College. Rickard earned her Ph.D. in American Studies with a Native component from the University at Buffalo (SUNY) in 1996. After her education and having worked as a television art director and graphic designer, she moved back to Tuscarora Reservation in upstate New York.

Well known pieces by the artist include 3 Sisters, a 1989 black-and-white photograph and color xerox (the artist's sleeping face interposed with squash, beans and corn, the Three Sisters staple crops); and I See Red in the 90's, a 1992 six-panel photograph series in protest of the quincentenary of Columbus' landing in America, also including a self-portrait. Her ...the sky is darkening (2018), which incorporates beadwork by older traditional and contemporary artists, considers "deep reclamation of land by the Cayuga..." She sees her photography as ultimately linked to "the manipulations of light and texture and the representations of cosmological space and spirituality of earlier generations of Iroquois beadwork artists".