Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery
July 14 – Oct. 17, 2022
Featuring more than a dozen contemporary artworks, Destination Oklahoma illuminated the distinct cultural backgrounds that coexist at this crossroads of the country. The exhibition, which included ceramics, mixed media, paintings, photographs, prints and video from five artists living across Oklahoma, engaged questions of cultural hybridity that converge in the state.
Photographs by September Dawn Bottoms suggested the complicated nature of intergenerational resilience, while drawings by Ghazal Ghazi co-mingled the Persian miniature format with contemporary portraiture. Paintings by Skip Hill reimagined symbolic imagery related to the Dust Bowl era, and paintings by America Meredith playfully mixed pop culture references with historical illustrations of Indigenous subjects. Prints by Đan Lynh Phạm blended graphic language with Vietnamese folk art traditions to evoke the sense of connection — or disconnection — felt by some immigrants to the state.
Together, the artworks in Destination Oklahoma expressed the beauty and charge of cultural connection, reflecting on the patterns of migration that have long shaped life in the state.
Destination Oklahoma was a collaboration between Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center and guest co-curator Liz Blood, a Tulsa-based writer, 2019-22 Tulsa Artist Fellow and 2022 guest editor of Art Focus magazine.
This exhibition was supported by Heartland, Ad Astra Foundation, Annie Bohanon, The Chickasaw Nation, Cox, Rand and Jeanette Elliott, The E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, Leslie and Cliff Hudson, The Kanady Family, Oklahoma Arts Council, George Records, Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum, and Velocigo.
About the artists
September Dawn Bottoms was born and raised in Paden, Okla. Her photographs involve archival family photos, records of personal objects and portraits exploring intergenerational trauma. Bottoms’ work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair and The Guardian. In 2020, Bottoms was selected for a fellowship by the New York Times, to which she contributes images on women’s and social issues.
Ghazal Ghazi was born in Tehran, Iran, and is based in Tulsa. Through painted tapestries featuring monumental versions of Persian miniatures, her work engages questions of collective memory and cultural displacement. Ghazi has a B.A. from the University of Arizona. She was a semifinalist in the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, and this year she was an Artist in Residence at Salina Art Center.
Skip Hill was born in North Padre Island, Texas, and is based in Tulsa. Hill’s drawings, paintings and murals incorporate details sourced from art historical canon, folk art, tattoo culture, Asian calligraphy, Dutch wax prints and West African sculpture. Hill holds a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma. Hill’s artwork has been featured on CNN and Black Entertainment Television. His paintings are part of the State Capitol’s Betty Price Gallery Oklahoma State Art Collection.
America Meredith is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is based in Norman. Her paintings combine Native American and pop culture imagery to approach social and environmental issues with humor. Meredith earned a B.F.A from the University of Oklahoma and holds an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work was part of the 2019 exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and presented at the Frist Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery and the Philbrook Museum of Art. Meredith was a 2009 Artist Fellow of the National Museum of the American Indian and is editor of First American Art Magazine.
Dan Lynh Pham was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and is based in Tulsa. Pham’s prints and drawings examine identity, socialization and the construction of culture — specifically of Asian American women living in the Midwest. She holds a B.F.A from Oklahoma State University. Pham operates Still Mill store in Tulsa and is a contributing artist for the Đùm Bọc Foundation’s 2022 Câylendar Initiative, featuring 12 Vietnamese diaspora illustrators and artists.