Dana Claxton: The Sioux Project –Tatanka Oyate
September 30, 2017 to January 7, 2018
Symposium: Saturday, September 30, 2017
The Sioux Project—Tatanka Oyate fills a major gap in our understanding of contemporary Sioux aesthetics in North America with a specific focus on the knowledge and practices of Lakota/Nakota/Dakota (Sioux) communities in Saskatchewan, Canada. The exhibition offered a thoughtful reflection on contemporary Sioux relationships to the land through the projection of interconnected stories onto four canvas screens configured in a large circle. Edited from hours of digital video footage collected from a series of workshops that Claxton held with Sioux youth throughout Saskatchewan, the artwork delivers an array of visual stories, songs, and images that give insight into the aesthetics of the Buffalo People–Tatanka Oyate–in relation to intergenerational knowledge and the dispersal of Sioux peoples throughout the province. Like Sioux star blanket makers, Claxton seams together colourful fragments to link story and ceremony in her effort to create a constantly moving pattern of cultural and artistic ideas. The result is a glowing canvas circle of colour and sound that envelops the viewer and encourages a dynamic understanding of Sioux culture and art today.
Dana Claxton is an interdisciplinary artist whose work includes film and video, installation, performance, photography, and curating. Born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Claxton is from Wood Mountain Lakota First Nation. Claxton has exhibited widely nationally and internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Sundance Film Festival, and the Museum of Contemporary ARt in Sydney, Australia. Her work is included in major collections such as the MacKenzie Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, and Winnipeg Art Gallery. She has received numerous awards including the VIVA Award from the Doris and Jack Shadbolt Foundation and the Eiteljorg Fellowing from the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis.
Organized by MacKenzie Art Gallery with support from Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board, City of Regina, University of Regina, and South Saskatchewan Community Foundation. Additional support from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and University of British Columbia Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory.