Native Americans explore heritage through art“Visions and Viewpoints,” a collection of art work by a dozen Native American artists, will be on display May 5-June 24 at the Red Wing Arts Association’s Depot Gallery.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
“Visions and Viewpoints,” a collection of art work by a dozen Native American artists, will be on display May 5-June 24 at the Red Wing Arts Association’s Depot Gallery.
Subtitled “Artwork of the Dakota and Ojibwe People,” the exhibit will fill the Vogel Gallery with paintings and drawings, sculptures, beadwork and other creations that reflect their culture and unique talents.
An afternoon of special activities is planned to mark the show’s opening.
• At 1 p.m. May 5, artist Nakoma Volkman — who also is a writer and speaker, singer and dancer — will tell stories of Native American culture. He will be wearing traditional attire.
• At 2 p.m. there will be a traditional dance demonstration by artist Dana Goodman, her husband, Dennis Williams, and their children.
• At 4 p.m., 11 of the 12 artists chosen to participate in the exhibit will be introduced.
Arts association Director Dan Guida began working on the exhibit months ago when he sought to bring the exhibition “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” to Red Wing.
The traveling show is a collaboration involving the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
When he learned that the Goodhue County Historical Society also was proposing to be a host site for the exhibition, Guida said got together with its director, Char Henn.
They decided to collaborate and submitted a joint proposal to bring the exhibition to the History Center, where it will go on display starting June 8.
Guida said the arts group, seeking to make the exhibition even more interesting to the community, added two elements: visits from Dr. Clifford Canku and an art show at the Depot Gallery featuring works by Native Americans.
Canku, who teaches the Dakota language at North Dakota State University, is translating letters written by Indians imprisoned after the 1862 Dakota Conflict. Those letters will soon be published in book form.
He will address Red Wing High School social studies classes May 15-16 and give a public address June 16 at the Goodhue County History Center.
“It has all fallen together,” Guida said.
Financial support, including grants from Xcel Energy and the Duff Endowment Fund, enabled the arts association to attract participants for the exhibit and bring them to Red Wing.
Among the first to respond to a call for art was Volkman of the Rochester area, who is a member of the Red Wing Arts Association and exhibits locally. One of his works is featured on the exhibit poster.
Also in the show:
• Frank Big Bear, Duluth, who creates vibrant colored pencil drawings that depict humans, animals and supernatural figures and also paints stylized portraits in a distinctive mosaic style.
• Pat and Gage Kruse, a father-son duo from northern Wisconsin. The Kruses harvest birch which they use to create paintings with images incorporating traditional quilt patterns, trees, wildlife and humans.
• JoAnne Bird from South Dakota, who paints and sculpts in bronze. She and her husband and daughters also perform Native American music as part of their effort to preserve Indian culture.
• Laura Youngbird, an artist and art educator from Breckenridge, Minn. She teaches art at Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton, N.D. Youngbird’s art explores her family’s experiences at boarding schools and the influences of Christianity on American Indian spirituality.
• Chholing Taha, who has been art-crafting and writing for more than 40 years and now lives in Minnesota. “Living has been a circular journey,” she wrote, “traveling through sometimes stormy canvases and eventually flying into the open skies splashed across shawls.”
• Dyani Reynolds-White Hawk, arts project manager at the Native American Community Development Institute in Minneapolis. She studied in Madison, Wis., and at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, N.M.
• Charles Hilliard, an active member of the native art community in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. His art relates the teachings, cultural humor and history of his people and reflect aspects of life that have a healing quality.
• Lori Ann Biggs, an award-winning artist from north-central Indiana. She is proficient in a variety of artistic mediums, and has carried out commissions for fine art portraits and landscapes. Biggs also creates folk art furniture pieces, signs, gemstone jewelry and crafts.
• John K. Sterner, who began drawing at age 3 and has studied and created art all his life. He uses a variety of mediums to explore his Lakota heritage, including drawing, painting, screen printing and sculpting.
• Dana Goodwin, who lives in Mahnomen, Minn., and is employed at White Earth. She and her fiancé, Dennis Williams, create dance regalia and travel to powwows and traditional ceremonies, carrying on family traditions of working with hides, beading and sewing.
All area expected to attend the opening except Big Bear.
“It’s very exciting,” Guida said. The participants draw on a lifetime of heritage and years of experience in a wide range of art forms to “bring history to life.”
If you go...
What: “Visions and Viewpoints” opening
Who: Dakota and Ojibwe artists
When: 1 to 5 p.m. May 5
Where: RWAA Depot Gallery, 418 Levee St.
How much: Free
More info: 651-388-7569 or www.redwingartsassociation.org