The Gallery’s upcoming Late Shift Extra takes place on Friday 17 May and artist Edgar Heap of Birds responds to the Gallery’s free exhibition, George Catlin: American Indian Portraits, through the question ‘HOW DO WE SEE EACH OTHER?’.

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds is a contemporary artist from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations of Oklahoma.  His work explores the relationship between Native American memory and non-Native historical accounts. Edgar’s artistic practice consists of public art messages, installations and prints that use quick, simple language to engage their audiences.

For Our Children by Edgar Heap of Birds Monoprint, 2013 For Our Children by Edgar Heap of Birds Monoprint, 2013

Below, Edgar and his son, Wougim Heap of Birds, share their thoughts on the concept of the evening and Edgar’s current projects and inspiration.

Edgar and son Wougim Heap of Birds with recent mono prints in the exhibition Nuance of Sky at Pomona College Museum of Art, California, in 2013. Edgar working on mono prints, 2013.

Why did you choose the question ‘HOW DO WE SEE EACH OTHER?’ for visitors to the Gallery on the night to respond to?

Edgar: The focus of my work is to create connections between indigenous peoples across the world, examining the past and taking a fresh look today at issues of social justice. How we see each other is something that I think about a lot and have done in previous projects, such as Tell Yourself which I exhibited in Sydney, Australia. Catlin portrays a one-sided view of Native Americans and this question will encourage two-way communication, correcting Catlin’s stoic, quiet and ‘no smiling’ image of Native American people.

What are you hoping the visitor experience will be like on the night and what will they take away from the evening?

Edgar: I hope that people will see the bigger picture. People will be defining themselves, not each other. I want to break the Native American stereotypes and I hope that people will be educated in contemporary Native American culture.

Wougim: I want to open people’s eyes to the health issues that Native Americans face today and introduce people to Native American culture through music that I have created that will be part of selections played in the Main Hall.

What exhibitions have you got coming up? Where can we expect to see your work in the future?

Edgar: I am working on digital versions of my monotypes to exhibit in a show called Indigenous Brilliance in Italy during June and, for the first time, I am taking part in the Santa Fe Indian Market this August. In the longer term, I would like to gain gallery representation and place work in collections across the world, which might include London.

Join Edgar and Wougim in a unique artist-led participatory event and take part in events throughout the Gallery including films, spoken word, a philosophy salon and live music at Late Shift Extra: Edgar Heap of Birds . To find out more about Edgar and his practice visit his website heapofbirds.ou.edu/

Image Credits (from top to bottom)

For Our Children by Edgar Heap of Birds Monoprint, 2013

Native Host, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands by Edgar Heap of Birds Sign panel, 2010

Edgar and son Wougim Heap of Birds with recent mono prints in the exhibition Nuance of Sky at Pomona College Museum of Art, California, in 2013.

Edgar working on mono prints, 2013.

Images © Edgar Heap of Birds

Comments

Got something to say?

admin

21 May 2013, 13:59

Thank you for your positive feedback on Friday’s Late Shift Extra: Edgar Heap of Birds (How do we see each other?). Your kind words are very much appreciated and I have shared your warm praise with colleagues across the Gallery. I have also shared your comments with artists involved in the programme on the night. I do hope that you will be able to visit the National Portrait Gallery again in the near future.

Diana Watkins

19 May 2013, 07:29

I want to tell you how life affirming I found the NPG Lates evening around
Edgar Heap of Birds work & Shelley Hiro's wonderful films, this must be the most wonderful program I've attended yet. Also the freedom of non ticketed events made it more enjoyable tho' I know it's not always possible. Do you think he & his son Wougim know that our young people are now going through through the same health problems we inflicted on their children - I guess its payback time, we don't seem to learn, do we, or are not self reflective enough? I know this will affect my art work now as does the guidance of all your great tutors in Friday workshops. Thank you all from Diana Watkins also known as Diana Mull.

Make a Comment

Comments are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can contact you to let you know when your comment has been approved.

Privacy Information

close

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to be displayed on the blog posting. By pressing submit you are indicating your agreement for your post to be shown on the blog page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are tasteful, relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All posts are moderated.