An exhibition that brings together work from 32 Oklahoma artists celebrates contemporary Native artwork in all of its variety.
“Re/Convening” at ahha, 101 E. Archer St., features mostly paint on canvas but also includes sculptures, ceramics and traditional beading techniques. Also on display is installation-based work, which is often large sculpture work with various vantage points, explains Amber Litwack, ahha’s director of education and exhibition.
“We wanted to show that contemporary Native artists create innovative works of art that challenge aesthetic, cultural and material preconceptions,” Litwack says. “We also wanted people to realize that many of today’s leading Native artists live in, have lived in or maintain cultural or personal connection to the state of Oklahoma.”
Curated by heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw), senior curator at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, “Re/Convening” will be on display through Sept. 20.
“(Dr. ahtone) has her finger on the pulse of contemporary Native art, and it definitely shows through this exhibition,” Litwack says. ahha collaborated with ahtone once before, in 2015 for the exhibition “Intertwined.” It was one of Litwack’s favorite ahha projects and featured the work of Native artists Sarah Sense and the late Shan Goshorn.
“Re/Convening” was funded in part by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which enabled ahha to pay cash prizes to artists — something it’s not typically able to do, Litwack says.
Summer Zah won the $500 first-place prize with “Should’ve Seen It in Color,” an installation. Paul King’s painting “Okla Humma” won second place, and Bryan Waytula’s mixed media piece “The Warrior” won third.
The grant also meant ahha staff had a larger budget than usual, so they could provide more context to the art with help from Native American studies scholar Stacy Pratt (Muscogee-Creek). “Expanded objects labels for each piece talk about both the artists’ backgrounds and then their work in general,”
Litwack says. The context Pratt provided “includes key Oklahoma figures and events significant to the development of contemporary Native art in Oklahoma,” Litwack says.
Pandemic precautions are in place at the museum, which is limiting the number of guests in the facility, minimizing touch points and requiring face coverings.
Amber DuBoise Shepherd
Michael Elizondo Jr.
Bobby C. Martin
Bryon Perdue Jr.
Alex Ponca Stock
Erica Pretty Eagle
Hours: Noon-9 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday; noon-7 p.m., Sunday
Admission: $12.75 for adults, $8.75 for kids 3-12, free for members and kids under 3; $10 for adults and free for kids on First Fridays