Kemper announces “Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives” exhibition

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Connections by Dyani White Hawk // Photo by Rik Sferra 2016 and courtesy of the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center

The solo exhibition of mixed-media work “Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives” is opening February 18 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is a ten-year survey of painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation.

The work in the exhibition was created by Minneapolis-based artist Dyani White Hawk (Sičáŋǧu Lakota, born 1976). White Hawk is the 2020 Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Alumni Award recipient. Other work from White Hawk can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and other institutions.

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Dyani White Hawk // David Ellis

White Hawk demonstrates the significance of shared history between Native and non-Native groups while working across different cultures, histories, and visual traditions. She encourages conversations about the lacking representations of Native peoples, arts, and voices in contemporary art and beyond.

“White Hawk’s strength is in her ability to see what others cannot, namely how the past, present, and future are all interconnected and influence each other,” says Sean O’Harrow, executive director at Kemper Museum.

Art techniques that foregrounded the expression of mark-making and focused on form are used by White Hawk. Artists began using these techniques in the 1950s to communicate concepts instead of using representational imagery.

White Hawk received her Associate of the Arts degree from Haskell Indian Nations University in 2003 then went on to receive her BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. In 2011 she received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This range of White Hawk’s work speaks to themes of identity through innovations in abstraction and transcription of historical imagery. She is at the forefront of dialogue on Native American art.

“Speaking to Relatives is an exciting exhibition as it fuses motifs from two well-known art movements that have historically been siloed,” says Jade Powers, Kemper Museum Assistant Curator, who curated the exhibition. “This presentation of White Hawk’s practice allows beautiful and engaging work to help start a dialogue about equality and intersectionality.”

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Untitled by Dyani White Hawk // Photo by Rik Sffera 2016 courtesy of Dyani White Hawk and Bockley Gallery

The Kemper Museum has created programs to enliven the themes of the exhibition. In-gallery performances, self-guided activities, and take-home art kits will be available opening week. Café Sebastienne’s Chef Rick Mullins is creating dishes inspired by White Hawk’s work. White Hawk will be giving an artist talk on Zoom February 25 to conclude opening week. The talk will also be projected in the museum. Registration for the Zoom and opening week is required.

Safety precautions, including masks and capacity limits, will be maintained. The museum is working to make visitors’ experiences as contactless as possible.

Kemper Museum members can preview “Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives” on the evening of February 18. The exhibit will be open to the public on February 19 and will remain on view through May 16, 2021, at no cost. More virtual events in partnership with “Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives” through May 16 can be found here.

“Contemporary artists help us reexamine the world we live in today and imagine
possibilities for the future,” says O’Harrow. “We hope visitors leave this exhibition inspired by the work, with a richer and more nuanced understanding not only of art but of our larger culture.”


Categories: Art