'Lost Tribes' appear in Marco museum's paintings

'Billy Bowlegs,' a hunting scene by Theodore Morris

Photo by submitted

"Billy Bowlegs," a hunting scene by Theodore Morris

'Chief Outina' by Theodore Morris

Photo by submitted

"Chief Outina" by Theodore Morris

“I think they’re beautiful paintings and beautiful representations of the Native American tribes, said Naomi Gordon, who worked with curator Jennifer Guida to install the nearly 50-painting exhibition this week. “What I especially like about them is that he did so much research and that gives these such a high level of accuracy.”

The Marco Island Historical Museum will open “Florida’s Lost Tribes,” an exhibition of the work of Theodore Morris, a St. Augustine artist whose oil paintings are meant to evoke the human spirit of American’s first people.

Morris will appear at the 6-8 p.m. opening reception today for the exhibition. A video from Florida Anthropological Society will be offered as part of the evening.

Morris says his art strives to depict an authentic and historically accurate depiction of native tribes and culture in Florida that are either unrepresented or have few representatives, offering the public with a greater understanding of the lives led by Native Americans. He supports his paintings with archeology, history and photographic study to verify the accuracy of his paintings. Morris also adds the accompanying text to present a fuller picture of bygone days.

Morris says he gravitated to the paintings after he worked on a poster for a Florida Anthropological Association event.

“I went to do some research and was surprised that there was so little available,” he said. “I felt there should be more known about these people and thought with my paintings I can bring them back to life.”

Morris has spent years researching with local archeologists to learn about the Apalachee, the Calusa, the Timucua, the Seminole, the Jeaga and the Martires peoples.

“I think they’re beautiful paintings and beautiful representations of the Native American tribes, said Naomi Gordon, who worked with curator Jennifer Guida to install the nearly 50-painting exhibition this week. “What I especially like about them is that he did so much research. That gives these paintings a high level of accuracy.”

The artist earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sarasota’s Ringling School of Art and Design in 1972. After a career as a commercial illustrator and graphic design artist, Morris started studying Florida history and its earliest peoples through reading and participating in archeological excavations. In 1990, Morris started painting what’s known as Florida’s “Lost Tribes” in oil, on canvas, and showcased his first exhibit three years later. Since then, his work has been shown in galleries all over the state.

What: Opening of “Florida’s Lost Tribe” exhibit

When: Friday through April 8; hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Where: The Marco Museum, 180 Heathwood Drive, Marco Island

Information: 252-8287

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