Hollis Chitto's beaded bag Bloodwork Number 2 might at first appear to be a beautiful piece of traditional American Indian art, its symmetrical design, bold colors, nature motifs and painstaking handwork expressing centuries of heritage. However, a closer examination of the front panel reveals the imagery behind the title, detailed in ruby colored beads flowing symmetrically downward, seemingly refracting and, in places, seeping into the design before breaking up into droplets.

 

The artist proudly explains that his inspiration began with an invitation in 2017 from the Abbe Museum, a respected ethnographic institution in Bar Harbor, Maine, to contribute to the fourth edition of its show Twisted Path, featuring artwork related to tribal identity. That installments health-focused theme, "Vital Signs" led the Santa Fe, New Mexico based artist - who's Mississippi Choctaw on his father's side and Isleta and Laguna pueblos on his mother's - to explore issues related to HIV in the the Native community. 

 

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