Red Earth partners with OSU Oral History Research Program on exhibit

Posted by Eric Oesch on 10/31/2013

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – While construction projects on the exterior of the Red Earth Museum continue in downtown Oklahoma City, the museum has opened the 2013 Red Earth Master Artist Show entitled “Through the Eyes of the Artist.” The exhibition features award winning Red Earth Festival artists with text and audio from interviews collected by the Oklahoma State University Oklahoma Oral History Research Program.

            “Through the Eyes of the Artist,” which features the artwork of 19 American Indian artists, is curated in conjunction with the Oklahoma Native Artists Project at OSU.  The project documents the stories of Oklahoma Indian artists with interviews of painters, sculptors, multi-media artists, photographers and potters.  All of the artists featured in the Red Earth exhibition either live in Oklahoma, were born in Oklahoma, or have Oklahoma tribal ties.

            Featured in the show are items on loan from private art collectors alongside select pieces from the Red Earth Museum permanent collection.  The exhibition features works by award-winning artists who have participated in the Red Earth Festival during the past 27 years.

            “Native artists are among Oklahoma’s greatest treasures,” said Julie Pearson-Little Thunder PhD, Oklahoma State University visiting assistant professor, Oklahoma Oral History Research Program. “There are more professional artists in our state, producing a greater diversity of work, than anywhere else in the country.”

            “Through the Eyes of the Artist” features traditional and contemporary beadwork, pottery, basketry, sculpture, drawings and paintings by 19 Native artists including Richard Whitman (Muscogee/Creek), Mike Larsen (Chickasaw), Les Berryhill (Creek), Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne), Merlin Little Thunder (Cheyenne), Brenda Kennedy (Citizen Potawatomi), and Dana Tiger (Cherokee). Others include Richard Aitson (Kiowa), Joan Brown (Cherokee), Bert Seabourn (Cherokee), Mavis Doering (Cherokee), Lisa Rutherford (Cherokee), Gary Montgomery (Seminole), Benjamin Harjo Jr (Seminole/Shawnee), Ruthe Blalock Jones (Delaware/Shawnee/Peoria), Dorothy Sullivan (Cherokee), Gordon Yellowman Sr (Cheyenne), Troy Anderson (Cherokee of NE Alabama) and Kelly Haney (Seminole).

            Each art piece featured in “Through the Eyes of the Artist” is accompanied by artists’ quotes obtained through the Oklahoma Native Artists Oral History Project.  Select pieces feature QR codes that allow museum guests to download audio quotes from the artist.

            “Oklahoma’s Native artists possess a variety of backgrounds, with some who are self-taught and some who are graduates of college and university art programs,” said Pearson-Little Thunder. “Still others have attended specialized art schools and art institutes, both Native and non-Native. The purpose of this project is to highlight the lives and careers of Native artists, to draw attention to the political aspects of making Native art, and to raise awareness of its cultural and economic importance.”

            The 2013 Red Earth Master Artist Show, “Through the Eyes of the Artists,” continues through January 31, 2104.  The Red Earth Museum is open free to the public Monday through Friday at 6 Santa Fe Plaza next to the historic Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. 

            Red Earth, Inc. is an Allied Arts member agency and is funded in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Chickasaw Nation. 

Red Earth, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to promote the rich traditions of American Indian arts and cultures through education, a premier festival, a museum and fine art markets.  Visit www.redearth.org for information.

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