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Seminole artists pick up Art Basel boost

The late Jimmy Osceola’s artwork is currently on display at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, which is listed as one of Art Basel’s cultural institutions for the first time. (Beverly Bidney)

Seminole artists are poised to acquire new fans during Art Basel Miami Beach from Dec. 8 to Dec. 10.

For the first time, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum in Big Cypress, which has Seminole art on display, is listed as one of Art Basel’s cultural institutions on its website. Art Basel organizers created the list to give its visitors endorsed museum and gallery options outside of the event’s main venue – the Miami Beach Convention Center. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum is one of 28 venues listed on the site as cultural institutions.

Art Basel, which also produces its annual art fairs in Basel, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Paris, attracts tens of thousands of tourists, art buyers, and international visitors to Miami Beach. It first came to South Florida in 2002, and the show now features work from hundreds of galleries and dozens of countries. It is one of the most well known showcases for modern and contemporary art by both established and emerging artists.

Tara Chadwick, History Fort Lauderdale curator who has worked with Seminole artists for years, said being included on the cultural institutions list is significant because of the event’s reach and reputation.

“When Art Basel came to Miami Beach it really began to boost the importance of art,” Chadwick said. “The investment of Art Basel in Miami Beach on a yearly basis really pushed our South Florida community in general to understand that arts are an economic driver and that visual art is something that’s valuable and also fun. Art Basel has really shown people that art is accessible to anyone.”

There are two Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum exhibits highlighted on the Art Basel listing. The first is the retrospective of the late Jimmy Osceola’s work – “Seminole Pride: Celebrating the Artwork of Jimmy Osceola.” Osceola’s renowned paintings typically depict Seminole life, culture and history through its people, rituals and camp life. The exhibit – which runs through 2025 – features 30 of his pieces.

The second exhibit on the listing is “Ee Litch Ko: We’re Glad You’re Here,” which runs from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5 and features the work of several Seminole artists. The museum has also organized an “Ee Litch Ko” pop-up event at the Okalee Indian Village in Hollywood on Dec. 2.

In addition, Art Basel has listed History Fort Lauderdale’s exhibit “Chehantamo: How Are You Doing?” which includes the work of 15 Seminole artists. It is on display through Jan. 6, 2024. History Fort Lauderdale first appeared on the cultural institutions list in 2018. Chadwick said one of the reasons it was included is due to its annual Native American heritage exhibitions featuring Seminole and Miccosukee artists. “Chehantamo” is the 10th such exhibit.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at