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Critical Issues Lecture – Dyani White Hawk, Keith BraveHeart, Micheal Two Bulls
WhenThursday, Feb. 14, 2019, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Campus locationHenry Art Gallery and Allen Center for The Visual Arts (HAG)
Campus roomAuditorium
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsSchool of Art + Art History + Design with assistance from the Henry Art Gallery. This year's lectures are supported by The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation and individual donors.

The Critical Issues Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, but it does help us estimate attendance. Use the sign up button above to RSVP.

Read about the entire lecture series.

This panel discussion complements the exhibition Lakota Emergence, which is on display at Mobius Gallery (UW Bothell Campus) from January 9 – March 13, 2019. In addition, two symposia with Drs. Dian Million, Chadwick Allen, Danica Miller, and Craig Howe exploring the role of art in Indigenous wellness and the future of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the University of Washington will take place on Friday, February 15, at North Creek Event Center in Bothell, 1–4:30pm. Learn more. These events are generously supported by the Simpson Center. Additional funding by the UW Bothell Diversity Council and Cascadia College has facilitated the exhibition and symposia.

As a woman of Sičangu Lakota and European American ancestry, I was raised within Native and urban American communities. My work reflects these cross-cultural experiences through the combination of modern abstract painting and abstract Lakota art forms. Some works are executed strictly in paint, weaving conceptual influences and aesthetics from each respective history. Others accomplish the same intermingling of artistic lineages through stories embedded in materials. Mixed-media pieces combine traditional painting mediums — acrylic, oil, and canvas — with beadwork, porcupine quillwork and other materials common to Lakota artistic traditions.

I strive to create honest, inclusive compositions that acknowledge all parts of my history, Native and non-Native, urban, academic and cultural education systems, and at times conflicting world views. This platform allows me to start from center, deepening my own understanding of the complexities of self and culture, correlations between personal and national history, and indigenous and mainstream art histories.

By highlighting the strength and legacy of indigenous arts within a conceptual painting practice the audience is invited to consider perceived parallel histories as truly intertwined. The complexity of visual and conceptual references encourage conversations that challenge the lack of representation of Native arts and people in the mainstream while highlighting the truth and necessity of equality and intersectionality.

"There is No Lakota Word for Art. I am only doing what I was born to do."

BraveHeart was one of 28 Lakota artists from around the country to be selected as part of an exhibit at the Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City in March 2019. Hosted by the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), the exhibition will show works about the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre.

BraveHeart grew up in the small town of Kyle, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Lakota. He developed a passion for art in high school. From there, he went to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He finished his master of fine arts in painting at University of South Dakota (USD). BraveHeart calls himself a contemporary or modern native artist. His art takes a strong influence from his Native American cultural background. It is important for him to see what happens during that process, leaving it open for things to shift or change around, allowing time for chance to happen.

BraveHeart has spent his time working with young Native American artists through the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute, and annual art program at USD. Native American students in grades 11 through 12 are given the chance to demonstrate their skills and work with professionals from the area, going on field trips to local museums and cultural facilities.

My work focuses on concepts that deal with identity, history and place. These narrative works often draw from aspects of my life, family and experiences. Quite often, Native American people are subjugated to an old idea of who we used to be; or rather, a romantic idea dreamt up in a Hollywood studio or from a fictional book. Major museums and galleries often have a niche section for any racial population, often segregated from the larger body of work which I've felt was an injustice to those artists. Through my work, I strive to break through that barrier by including Native American perspectives, while touching upon universal themes that resonate with a wider audience, so that it can be included in a larger body of work.

When I was a young artist, the community I grew up in relied on a tourist economy which weighed heavy on the stereotypical Native American imagery. It had nothing to do with any current or personal issues many Natives deal with today. Like many other Native artists, I was expected to paint these one sided narratives for a quick dollar. I didn't want to perpetuate the stereotype of the "romantic Indian" for tourists. Nor did I want to perpetuate the stereotype of a "drunk Indian" or anything negatively associated to that degree by the locals. Instead, I took the direction of painting the realities I saw growing up. I chose to paint my ancestors' past experiences (which only goes back a couple generations ago) through a Native American perspective, not through a tourist's romantic perspective.

I want my paintings to start a dialogue with the viewer, engage them on various levels where they can ask questions, be curious and empathize with the work. I believe this work needs to happen in our society, where we can talk about identity, history and place in order to be inclusive.…
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