Indigenous Teacups, Inbetween

Teacup carved by Ekidlua Teevee; photo by LIsa Truong
Teacup carved by Ekidlua Teevee; photo by LIsa Truong.

Lisa Truong and I have been working on a research project on some intriguing and enigmatic objects: teacups woven or carved by Indigenous artists during the mid-twentieth century.

We’ve presented this research at various stages at three different conferences: a focused symposium on Inbetweenness in London, England this past March; at the Canadian Historical Association meeting in Victoria, BC, in June; and in October, we’ll be talking about new findings at the Native American Art Studies Association conference in Denver, Colorado. We’re currently working it up for inclusion in a forthcoming anthology on material manifestations of inbetweenness and hybridity.

Our project was recently featured on the Intellectual Property in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) blog, Appropriation (?) of the Month. We examine the extent to which these Indigenous teacups can be considered appropriating British tea culture, and ultimately argue for new, more productive ways of understanding appropriation.