Oklahoma Contemporary

Media Release

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Honor Song Receives Major Funding from the Henry Luce Foundation

April 02, 2024


Contact: Communications team | 405 951 0000 | communications@okcontemp.org

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is thrilled to announce that the upcoming exhibition featuring renowned artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds has received a $75,000 grant award from the Henry Luce Foundation. This generous support will enable Oklahoma Contemporary to bring this groundbreaking retrospective to fruition and share Heap of Birds' powerful work with a wider audience in Oklahoma.

This landmark exhibition will be the first retrospective for Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation) in his state of residence, despite an impressive and lauded 40-year career. Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Honor Song traces the artist’s trajectory from the 1970s to the present through over 80 prints, drawings, paintings, glass sculptures, road signs, public art and site-specific installations, newly commissioned pieces and archival materials. Known for his thought-provoking and socially engaged art, Heap of Birds explores themes of Indigenous identity, colonialism and environmental justice.

“We are pleased to announce this support from the Henry Luce Foundation to bring the powerful works of acclaimed artist Edgar Heap of Birds to Oklahoma Contemporary,” says Chief Development Officer Trent Riley. “This support not only honors the profound cultural contributions of Indigenous peoples, but also amplifies their voices in the contemporary art landscape."

The exhibition will feature several key pieces from Heap of Birds' body of work. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with the art through guided tours, Artist Talks and educational programming designed to deepen their understanding of Heap of Birds' artistic vision and the themes explored in his work.

"Edgar Heap of Birds' art transcends boundaries, capturing the significance of Indigenous narratives with poignant eloquence,” says Adjunct Curator Pablo Barrera. “His work harnesses conceptual art approaches to center Indigenous perspectives, inviting viewers to confront unexamined historical injustices while embracing the resilience and vitality of Indigenous cultures. This exhibition will stand as a testament to Heap of Birds' unparalleled vision, offering a profound exploration of identity, sovereignty and the enduring power of artistic expression.”

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Honor Song is scheduled to open in February 2025 at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center and will be on view through July 2025. Admission to Oklahoma Contemporary is free to ensure accessibility for all members of the community.

For more information about the exhibition, including updates on programming and events, please visit oklahomacontemporary.org.

About Edgar Heap of Birds:

Edgar Heap of Birds (b. 1954, Wichita, Kansas) is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation, for which he serves as headsman of the Elk Warrior Society, instructing ceremonies on tribal lands near Geary, Oklahoma. He is a prolific artist known for his politically charged artworks that address issues of Indigenous identity, colonialism and environmental justice. His work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally and is held in numerous public and private collections.

About the Henry Luce Foundation:

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to deepen knowledge and understanding in pursuit of a more democratic and just world. Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Luce Foundation advances its mission by nurturing knowledge communities and institutions, fostering dialogue across divides, enriching public discourse, amplifying diverse voices, and investing in leadership development.

About the American Art Program:

A leader in arts funding since 1982, the Luce Foundation's American Art Program advances the role of American art in realizing more vibrant and empathetic communities. Through support for innovative projects, it empowers institutions to celebrate creativity, elevate underrepresented voices, challenge accepted histories, and seek common ground.

About Oklahoma Contemporary:

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, formed at the Fairgrounds in 1989 as City Arts Center by Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers, is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the community with quality, accessible and affordable arts programming and education. Through corporate funding and private donations, Oklahoma Contemporary is able to educate Oklahomans through adult classes and workshops, art camps and classes for local youth, art exhibitions, lectures and additional educational programming. With a mission to encourage artistic expression in all its forms through education, exhibitions and performance, Oklahoma Contemporary is committed to instilling in the public a lifetime appreciation of the arts and enthusiasm for creative practice.


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Phone: 405 951 0000
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Oklahoma Contemporary
P.O. Box 3062
Oklahoma City, OK 73101

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