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Ribbon Dance / Ruthe Blalock Jones, born June 8, 1939, Native American; Delaware, Shawnee, Peoria (Artist)


The removal of Indigenous people to Indian Territory in the nineteenth century posed myriad challenges for the continuation of Native cultures, because the cultivation and practice of Indigenous lifeways, languages, and religious ceremonies were banned. Ribbon Dance, a diptych by Ruthe Blalock Jones (Delaware, Shawnee, Peoria), is a joyful tribute to cultural continuity and embodied resilience, and the vibrant colors contribute to the sense of a celebration of ceremonial dance.

Blalock Jones’s scene, which honors the unconstrained practice of Indigenous ceremonies, emerges within a historical and intergenerational tradition of Indigenous innovation in the visual arts. Electric-green trees billow behind the dancers engaged in the Ribbon Dance, with the middle ground divided by oscillating bands of green and orange. The painting highlights a collective female experience, and the unspoken cultural elements that each Ribbon Dancer brings with her to the moment through movement.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

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Ribbon Dance
Ruthe Blalock Jones, born June 8, 1939, Native American; Delaware, Shawnee, Peoria (Artist)
Native American; Delaware, Shawnee, Peoria
late 20th century
oil on canvas
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Purchased with funds gifted by Robert and Roxana Lorton
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
TL1998.55a-b; TL1998.55; 0127.2504a-b; 0127.2504
Not On View

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