Dyani White Hawk receives 2020 Bemis Alumni Award

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha / United States

February 4, 2021
February 4, 2021
Bemis Alumni ARTalks: Dyani White Hawk: February 9, 7pm, registration required

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 S. 12th Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
United States

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts announces Dyani White Hawk (Sičáŋǧu Lakota), a visual artist and independent curator based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as its 2020 Bemis Alumni Award winner as part of its formal Alumni Program. White Hawk was a 2017–18 Bemis exhibiting artist in Monarchs: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly. The annual 5,000 USD unrestricted award is designed to provide financial support to increase the capacity of a Bemis alum’s practice. Funds may be used for any purpose and do not need to be tied to a specific project or body of work. This award is by nomination only and selected by a panel of curators and art historians. 

"The panel was captivated by Dyani White Hawk's practice, both her take on abstraction through traditional Lakota techniques and her multi-channel video work, Listen, which showcases Indigenous women speaking their language in the specific region of its origin," said Rachel Adams, Bemis Chief Curator and Director of Programs. "We are extremely pleased to highlight and support the continuation of this important work with the 2020 Bemis Alumni Award." 

White Hawk earned an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011) and a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2008). She served as Gallery Director and Curator for the All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis from 2011–15. Support for White Hawk’s work has included 2020 Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Minnesota Art Prize, 2019 United States Artists Fellowship in Visual Art, 2019 Eiteljorg Fellowship for Contemporary Art, 2019 Jerome Hill Artists Fellowship, 2019 Forecast for Public Art Mid-Career Development Grant, 2018 Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Artists, 2017 and 2015 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowships and 2014 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. She has participated in residencies in Australia and Russia and Germany. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Denver Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Tweed Museum of Art, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Akta Lakota Museum among other public and private collections. She is represented by Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.

Artist statement
As a woman of Sičangu Lakota and European American ancestry, I was raised within Native and urban American communities. I strive to create honest, inclusive works that draw from the breadth of my life experiences, Native and non-Native, urban, academic, and cultural education systems. This allows me to start from center, deepening my own understanding of the intricacies of self and culture, correlations between personal and national history, and Indigenous and mainstream art histories. My painting and sculptural works reflect these cross-cultural experiences through the combination of influences from modern abstract painting and abstract Lakota art forms. Some are executed strictly in paint on canvas while others incorporate materials such as beads, porcupine quillwork, and buckskin, weaving aesthetics and concepts from multiple yet intertwined histories. Recent work in performance, video, and photography focusing on issues of Indigenous language, women’s rights, and the necessity of nurturing cross-cultural relationships, has further developed the driving force of my practice; to encourage conversations that challenge the lack of representation of Native arts, people and voices in our national consciousness while highlighting the truth and necessity of equality and intersectionality.

White Hawk will participate in a virtual talk with Adams on February 9 at 7pm CT on Zoom. Admission is free, RSVP is required at bemiscenter.eventbrite.com

Alumni artists were nominated for the 2020 Bemis Alumni Award and the winner was selected by Lauren Haynes, Director of Artist Initiatives and Curator, Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AK); Sohrab Mohebbi, Curator of 58th edition of the Carnegie International (Pittsburgh, PA); Diana Nawi, Independent Curator and Co-Artistic Director of Prospect.5, New Orleans (Los Angeles, CA) and Rachel Adams, Chief Curator and Director of Programs, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE.