Molly Murphy & Friends: Native American Beading

Molly Murphy weaves Native American humor, her rich cultural history, and contemporary viewpoint into mixed media beaded objects on display in the Emerson’s Jessie Wilber Gallery. Meet the Missoula artist during Bozeman’s ArtWalk, Friday June 12, 5-8 pm. The exhibit is on display from June 5 – July 24, 2009.

Murphy is a mixed blood descendant of the Oglala/ Lakota tribe. She uses beadwork and felt in both traditional and innovative forms that include beaded bags and boxes as well as a series of beaded XXXL T-shirts. The “super size” of the shirts comments on the very current problem of obesity and diabetes within the Native American community. The shirts are adorned with well-known Indian images such as the basketball and “red power.” Murphy also appropriates pop cultural images such as road signs in her beaded iconography.

Molly Murphy learned beading from her mother at an early age. Her native heritage and formal art education at the University of Montana have shaped her skills and content-driven artworks. When asked about the humor in her work, she responded, “ I once heard… humor is tragedy survived. When you have generations of tragedy, you require prodigious amounts of laughter.” As part of her heritage, humor and irony are often used to get the message across without having to state things directly.

The Molly Murphy exhibit is a springboard for the Emerson’s Summer ArtCamps program for children grades 2-6. For further information about our education and exhibit programs, consult our website: or call Ellen Ornitz, 587.9797, Ext. 104.

1 thought on “Molly Murphy & Friends: Native American Beading

  1. Paul Blake MH

    Beautiful artwork and it is good to see that it speaks about a real problem that hopefully soon be solved so the art can reflect a problem from our past that is no longer with us. Someone has not been mentioned here who shares much of the blame for what has been happening in the USA and Indian Nations. When 30% of the population of the USA is obese that has gone beyond diet, exercise and genetics. Through the food industry our food is subjected to poor farming methods, Irradiation, Pasteurization, Emulsification, Over refining, Genetic Modification, and via the animals Steroids and Antibiotics. Then before it gets to us they add Aspartame, MSG, Artificial colors, Sodium nitrite, Hydrogenated oils, High-Fructose Corn syrup, Acesulfame K, BHA, BHT, Olestra, Bromate, Sulfites, Seomyx, and I could go on and on. Good grief, what do they think we are? You and I know that this is not right, our food should not degrade into something chemically unrecognizable. Food should have food value and nourish us not turn us into an obese sickly country, you know it, I know it and they should know it. God Bless You

Comments are closed.