Wičháŋhpi Iwáŋkab Akíčhita

~Above the Stars Soldier~
Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5

Above the Stars Soldier represents the Cloud/Star/Heaven nation. The story of Fallen Star Boy, who fell to earth from the Cloud nation and was adopted by the Lakota people, promised to always look over our people and provide us hope and guidance during the darkest moments.

Combining that story with the journey we all take at the end, this piece is homage to our spirituality and perseverance; many of the stories I’ve heard in the meetings from the horse riders (and Horse Nation documentary) tell of our people overcoming the challenges of their lives through a bond with the Horse nation; how some riders deep connection meant their horse died the same day they did, so they can begin the journey in the afterlife together.

I decided to feature the body of water known to Americans as Devils Lake in two of my pieces; the name of my tribe is call Spirit Lake (North Dakota) and this is where we live; these are a homage to the long history of my Dakota people and my memories of my tribe. Both pieces contain the reflection of the horse and person; playing on the thought that what we do in life carries on with us during our journey in the afterlife.

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His Red Nation

Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Exhibition

Location: Various locations (SD, MN) | Opening Date: September 2016
I created three pieces for this exhibition, inspired by my people's connection to the horse nation.

Inspired by the voices and perspectives of the Šúŋka Wakȟáŋ Oyáte (Horse Nation) gathered through community informed processes, we respectfully called on the Artists of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ to represent their culture, relatives, homelands, and Oyáte by contributing original, compelling artworks purely inspired by aesthetic, not commerce, in relation to and inspired by the “Horse Nation” of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ to be exhibited on behalf of the Ikčé Oyáte (Common Nation) of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ.

The exhibit will expand on the (2014) film made by Keith Brave Heart titled We Are A Horse Nation, about the Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. It will present an authentic voice and positive perspective regarding the people of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and their cultural relations and philosophies of the “Horse Nation.” It will also transform current curatorial processes; from a top-down institution-led practice to a grassroots, community-influenced process.

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