Two Oklahoma artists talk craft ahead of the Oct. 10 outdoor art bash at Oklahoma Contemporary
Have the weekends lost their pizzazz during these days of distancing? Oklahoma Contemporary hopes to combat that with our Second Saturday program, offering a free, monthly, community and family-focused day of art talks, hands-on art making, performances and gallery adventures for visitors of all ages.
Last month's event celebrated artist Jen Lewin’s interactive light landscape, Aqueous. Activities included a street-sized paint-by-numbers from muralist Sean Vali, art-making kits (paired with individual space for each family to create), energetic beats from local DJ Tony Tee and the opportunity to skip, dance and play on Aqueous.
This time around, we're celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day for a socially distanced afternoon focused on Native cultures and contemporary practices. With your blankets and masks in tow, you'll enjoy performances, demos, activities and more on our North Lawn and throughout the new arts campus at NW 11th and Broadway in Oklahoma City.
For multidisciplinary sound and performance artist Warren Realrider, an enrolled member of the Crow Nation in Montana who was raised in the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, the day is an opportunity to expand visitors' ideas of what Indigenous art can be. He'll be presenting two sound works, blending everyday materials with experimental audio processing to bring tribal traditions into new sonic territory.
Featured in Sterlin Harjo's 2020 documentary, Love and Fury, Realrider fuses elements of ambient sound, noise and traditional Indigenous music with contemporary technology. The artist's "instruments" include artificial animal sinew commonly used for binding and sewing, bells from southern straight dance regalia and other objects associated with the powwows he grew up attending in his hometown of Pawnee in northeastern Oklahoma. "I'm referencing different elements of Native culture I bring in from my own experiences," he said.
With artist demos, performances and hands-on activities for the whole family, October's Second Saturday event will showcase the deep and diverse world of contemporary Indigenous art.
Chickasaw bead artist Shelby Rowe will also be onsite for the Oct. 10 event. She will be demonstrating her contemporary beading practice, which the artist and suicide prevention expert calls "an expression of mending brokenness."
After being honored as the 2016 Dynamic Woman of the Year by the Chickasaw Nation, Rowe returned home to Oklahoma after a stint in New York City to reconnect with her Indigenous heritage. "I felt like I need to be closer to my family and to my people," she said. "Part of that is trying to learn the language and things like that, and I really wanted to learn an artistic tradition."
Second Saturday visitors might be mesmerized by Rowe's intricate beadwork, but it was only three years ago that the artist bought her first loom. Her work is now featured in 10 exhibitions across the country, including The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. "People say, 'I could never do that,' but I thought I could never do it either. But if you love something, you can do it."
Attendees will get their chance to try their hand at beadwork with a custom take-home art kit including a template designed by Rowe. Alongside other artist demos, readings and art-forward activities, the day is sure to leave you feeling inspired and more in touch with the deep and diverse world of contemporary Indigenous art.
Before you get your free tickets, check out this video from last month's Second Saturday to get an idea of what you can expect during this socially distanced outdoor art bash that will be fun for the whole family.
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