Museum  June 12, 2018  Megan D Robinson

“Horse Nation” Celebrates Native Culture at the Mia

Courtesy of the artist

Denton Fast Whirlwind (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; Oglála Lakȟóta; Oglala Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Keepers of the Sacred Hunt," 2016. Acrylic on canvas.

On its final stop of a nation-wide tour, “Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ” is currently on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia). The exhibition explores the impact of horses on the history, spirituality, and culture of the Dakhóta, Nakhóta, and Lakȟóta (Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota) people, collectively known as the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires), a term preferred to the anglicized ‘Sioux.’ After their introduction to the “New World,” horses revolutionized Native American life, becoming crucial for hunting and battle, and revered as relatives and honored members of the community. The exhibition examines the continued impact horses have on modern Native American culture and philosophy. Featuring over 20 artworks by leading contemporary Native American artists, this compelling exhibition includes an early painting (1971) by renowned Lakȟóta artist Arthur Amiotte, striking contemporary beadwork, textile art, paintings, prints, and photography. Additionally, "Inspired" (2018), a new film by artist and filmmaker Keith BraveHeart tracing the journey of the exhibition, debuts at Mia.

Arthur Amiotte (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; Oglála Lakȟóta; Oglala Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Ethnic Forms," 1971
Courtesy of The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School

Arthur Amiotte (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; Oglála Lakȟóta; Oglala Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Ethnic Forms," 1971. Oil on canvas.

Emil Her Many Horses (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; Oglála Lakȟóta; Oglala Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Tȟašúŋka Óta Wiŋ," 2016
Courtesy of a private collection

Emil Her Many Horses (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; Oglála Lakȟóta; Oglala Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Tȟašúŋka Óta Wiŋ," 2016. Louboutin shoes and 16 size beads.

Preston Neal (Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ; Yankton Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Horse with Yankton Sioux Mask," 2016
Courtesy of Carolyne Hart

Preston Neal (Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ; Yankton Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Horse with Yankton Sioux Mask," 2016. Work on paper.

James Star Comes Out (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; Oglála Lakȟóta; Oglala Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Tȟatȟáŋka Wóaphiya," 2016.
Courtesy of the artist

James Star Comes Out (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; Oglála Lakȟóta; Oglala Sioux Tribe, North America, Plains region), "Tȟatȟáŋka Wóaphiya," 2016. Buffalo hide, buffalo horn, felt, beads, feathers, bells, leather.

Gwen Westerman (Sisíthuŋ/Waȟpéthuŋ; Dakȟóta Lake, Traverse Reservation, North America, Plains region), "Return to Crow Creek," 2014.
Courtesy of the artist

Gwen Westerman (Sisíthuŋ/Waȟpéthuŋ; Dakȟóta, Lake Traverse Reservation, North America, Plains region), "Return to Crow Creek," 2014. Textile.

The exhibition opened at The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota in 2016, and has been traveling to museums and galleries across the country. “We are delighted that ‘Horse Nation’s’ final venues are in Dakhóta homeland and for the opportunity to work with this extraordinary team of curators, collaborators, and artists that created this exhibit to celebrate the power of Horse Nation,” said Jill Ahlberg Yohe, associate curator of Native American art at Mia.

“Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ” is on view through February 3, 2019. For more information, visit https://new.artsmia.org  Concurrent Minneapolis exhibitions dedicated to Horse Nation are also at All My Relations Gallery (June 7–October 8, 2018) and Two Rivers Gallery (July 2–October 19, 2018).

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.

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