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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 6, 2003 - Issue 95


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Show highlights Native American Art

by Jomay Steen - Sioux Falls Argus Leader
credit Plains Archer by JoAnne Bird

Student and pro work included

Plains Archer by JoAnne BirdLook at James Starkey ledger art with its exquisite themes, detail and color, and it speaks volumes of the Lakota man's heritage, history and continuing evolution.

"In any great art, you recognize the humanity," he says.

At 38, Starkey has struggled to get his work into the mainstream. He has steered clear of pot-boiler, Southwest fad-based art. Starkey paints what he knows. "It contains a story that I tell the collector, and as the years go by, the story grows and changes," Starkey says.

He and other Native American artists' works will be showcased at Mitchell's inaugural Native American Festival and Art Show.

The festival will exhibit a mixed medium of Northern Plains art Saturday through Oct. 10 in the Thomsen Archeodome at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village.

The new art show offers one more opportunity for new and established Native American artists to display their work.

"We're making slow progress, but we're making progress," says John Day, University of South Dakota's dean of the college of fine arts.

Many Native Americans face difficulties in finding gallery space. South Dakota doesn't have the professional infrastructure of museums, galleries and collectors comparable to those in the Southwest or the coasts.

"It's better now than when Oscar Howe came along, and there's steady improvement," Day says.

He mentions museums at Rapid City, Crazy Horse, Pine Ridge, South Dakota colleges and universities and a number of galleries and private art boutiques that offer space for established and new Native art.

Joseph Gangone, 31, looks forward to art shows. The nontraditional Sinte Gleska art student has spent 12 years trying to cultivate a big enough following to leave his day job. "I'm always excited about them. You get some insight into the new artists, and it inspires you," he says.

A sculptor and member of the Rosebud Reservation, Gangone will exhibit a 90-pound alabaster buffalo. He began the piece in a form class at Sinte Gleska and slowly chipped away on the marble lump.

"As I worked, I saw a buffalo in it, and I learned a lot from it," he says. Most of Gangone's art touches on religious and cultural themes in abstract, symbolic and realistic forms.

On a visit to the University of South Dakota's art institute, Anne Anderson, a former art teacher and the consultant for the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, saw the work of the newest classroom of Native American artists. "The purity, the sense of color, the lack of clutter ... this has such brilliancy and clean lines. It's something that I didn't expect," Anderson says.

Representative of the Northern Plains, the show will combine the new artists' works with more established artists.

"There's a good mix of art that will be on display," says Dixie Thompson, Akta Lakota Museum director.

Contacting the Saint Joseph Indian School in Chamberlain, Anderson received 25 paintings from the Akta Lakota museum's permanent collection. The works of artists Arthur Amiotte, Robert Penn, JoAnne Bird, Daniel Long Soldier, Roger Broer and Martin Red Bear will hang next to those from the students at Mission's Sinte Gleska University and the University of South Dakota.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

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