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The Sioux Project—Tatanka Oyate

Dana Claxton
Timothy Long
English, Lakota
180+ full colour
225 x 280mm
Winter 2020

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 publication reflects over three years of on-the-ground research involving a team led by Lakota video/performance artist Dana Claxton, art historian Lynne Bell, artist Gwenda Yuzicappi, and filmmaker Cowboy Smithx. The video footage gathered over the course of multiple visits to Sioux communities across Saskatchewan formed the basis of Claxton's four-channel video installation at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan in 2017.

Essays by Bell, Smithx, and MacKenzie Head Curator Timothy Long, as well excerpts from video interviews with community participants, speak to the community-based methodology of this research-creation project and the significance of Claxton’s installation. Densely illustrated with stills and in-situ shots of the installation, the texts offer a moving community portrait of how the traditional knowledge of elders is being actively transmitted to and translated by a generation that is as comfortable with video mashups as they are with star quilts and beadwork. Produced for academic, artistic and broader communities, the publication includes a consideration of how Sioux aesthetics have been defined by communities and artists in North America, both historically and in the contemporary period, in essays by leading Indigenous scholars, Janet Catherine Berlo, Bea Medicine and Carmen Robertson. The historical background for the presence of Tatanka Oyate, the "Buffalo Nation," in western Canada is provided in a chronology by historian David R. Miller.

  1. Dana Claxton

    (Hunkpapa Lakota) works in film, video, photography, single- and multi-channel video installation, and performance art. Her practice investigates beauty, the body, the socio-political, and the spiritual. Her work has been shown internationally at the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Centre, Sundance Film Festival, Eiteljorg Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) and held in public collections including the Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Art Bank of Canada, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. She has received numerous awards including the 2020 Governor Generals' Award, the VIVA Award and the Eiteljorg Fellowship.

  2. Timothy Long

The MacKenzine Art Gallery

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    1. The Sioux Project – Tatanka Oyate

      With essays and process images on toothy uncoated grey paper and film stills reproduced on high white art matte paper, The Sioux Project brings together the legacy of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota peoples with contemporary expression and culture.

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