To the excitement of contemporary Native artisans and lovers of their craft, POP Gallery in Santa Fe New Mexico has created an exhibit featuring a huge gathering of artists.
Brent Learned (Cheyenne-Arapaho) says he was thrilled about the opening of the art show. "I'm excited because this hasn't really been done, a show of this magnitude... We've kicked this idea around about doing a show with just street, raw, contemporary, pop artists."
Learned and a few other artists conceptualized the show almost two years ago and brought on such artists as Steven Paul Judd, Bunky Echo Hawk and many others.
Native Pop! flyer with a list of impressive Native artisans.
"When I go into galleries to show some of my pop stuff, they weren't too interested,” says Learned. “They want to stick with the traditional. Even with the contemporary stuff, they're kind of timid. So, having an event so people can see this work is out there, reflecting society, it's good. As society changes, so does the art. Change is always good."
For Learned and his fellow artists, the exhibit is more than just pretty pictures on the wall. There is a deeper, educational significance to the exhibit. He says, "Art reflects society. We change with it. As we change with it, we tell those stories. When people attend art shows, they expect to see typical Indian art. There's no such thing as typical Indian art.
Brent Learned and an appreciative art lover - courtesy photo
"Your average person that doesn't go to art shows or pow wows think we [only exist in] history. People think Indians are extinct. So, they're not relevant anymore. I'm like 'No, we're still here'. That's the reason why we do shows, [and] you see dancing. We're preserving our culture and our heritage. And, we want to tell our side [of the story]."
Joe Hopkins and his art - courtesy photo
The initial show is in Oklahoma City opened at the Paseo Plunge (http://www.paseoplunge.com/), on July 1st. The Pop Gallery in Santa Fe, NM (http://www.popsantafe.com/) during the entire month of August.
Updates on other times and dates, as well as photos of the exhibit can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/NativePopArt