Image Credit: Keith BraveHeart
Historical photograph of buffalo skulls at Fort Still. Photo via www.rarehistoricalphotos.com
Inspired by the historic photograph of thousands of buffalo skulls taken near Fort Sill in 1870 (second image in above slideshow), A Buffalo Nation: Creating Community emphasizes the idea of a shared space on this continent, Turtle Island, otherwise known as North America. A collaboration between lead artist Keith BraveHeart and the Native American Community Development Institute, A Buffalo Nation is a participatory art project that responds to the common and ongoing threats to our environment and cultures.
Native youth from the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute in South Dakota will assist Keith BraveHeart in running a sort of screen-print and origami assembly line to produce hundreds of buffalo figures. The public will be invited to participate in screen-printing, folding, and customizing their own buffalo. Each piece will then be added to a collaborative and growing sculpture meant to invoke the 1870 photograph, one that depicts the moment in American history wherein settlers slaughtered bison to near extinction.
The resulting installation from the two nights of Northern Spark will then be displayed during the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Festival 2018 in the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis.
Thank you to the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute.
Keith BraveHeart, Oglala Lakota, received his BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and MFA from the University of South Dakota. He is dedicated to community-based art initiatives. As the All My Relations artist-in-residence, Keith will present workshops and the exhibition Horse Nation in Minneapolis during the summer of 2018.
Taylor Rose Payer is a curator, arts educator, and writer. She received her BA from Dartmouth College and will pursue an MA in Public Humanities at Brown University in the fall of 2018. A citizen of the Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe, she believes in the power of arts and culture to transform communities.
Rory Wakemup is a 2015 MFA graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts Santa Fe New Mexico in 2010. Wakemup is a multidisciplinary artist whose work turns the script of cultural appropriation on its head. He also serves as the Director of All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis.