Entwined: Freedom, Sovereignty, and the Sea

Now on Exhibit

April 20, 2024, through April 19, 2026

Stillman Building

Curated by Akeia de Barros Gomes

Entwined: Freedom, Sovereignty, and the Sea is a new major exhibition centering maritime histories in Indigenous, African, and African-descended worldviews and experiences. Unraveling the threads of existing maritime narratives for the history of the Dawnland (New England), Indigenous dispossession, and racialized slavery, this exhibition is rooted in voices and histories that have been silent or silenced. 

Kuhtah and Kalunga are the Pequot and Bantu words for the Atlantic Ocean. Kuhtah/Kalunga and its tributaries—with its cycles of ebb and flow, push and pull, and trauma and healing—forever connect the histories, cultures, peoples, and legacies of ancestral African societies and kingdoms to the Sovereign Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island, or North America. Like waterways, contact between Africans and the Indigenous Nations of the Dawnland attests to the power of African and Indigenous ancestors, the circularity of time, and fundamental cycles of death and rebirth. 

Entwined explores the enduring legacies, strength, and resilience of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and African-descended peoples of the Dawnland. Foregrounding ancestral and descendant voices, Entwined re-weaves a narrative of African and Indigenous maritime cultures whose histories are forever interwoven in the stories of freedom, sovereignty, and the sea.


Entwined: Freedom, Sovereignty, and the Sea is generously funded by the Just Futures Initiative of the Mellon Foundation as part of the Reimagining New England Histories project. 

Mystic Seaport Museum also gratefully acknowledges our project partners, Brown University and Williams College, our community advisors whose collective voices, knowledge, creativity, and wisdom are foregrounded in this exhibition, and the artists whose pieces are on display in the exhibition: Alison Wells, Felandus Thames, Nafis M. White, Christian Gonçalves, Elizabeth James Perry, Robin Spears, Sierra Henries, and Sherenté Harris.

A special thanks to the exhibition committee members.


Richard “Soaring Bear ” Cowes, Brad Lopes, Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed, Heather Bruegl, Jason Mancini, Leah Hopkins, Lorén Spears, Cheryll Holley, Nikki Turpin, Debbie Khadroui 


Brad Lopes, Lorén Spears, Pilar Jefferson, Cheryll Holley, Leah Hopkins, Jason Mancini, Penny Gamble-Williams, Doreen Wade, Anika Lopes 

Exhibit design and fabrication by SmokeSygnals.