Grand Forks Herald


By Herald Staff
Saturday, February 8, 2014


Songs For Spirit Lake,” a major art exhibit meant to capture the sights and sounds of life at the Spirit Lake reservation, opens Saturday at the North Dakota Museum of Art on the UND campus.

Workers spent part of this week assembling the different art installations in time for the 4:30 p.m. public opening.

The exhibit had originally been shown in New York before going to the Cankdeska Cikana Community College in the reservation town of Fort Totten, N.D.

Laurel Reuter, exhibit curator and NDMOA director, commissioned six artists involved in the project with a grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

They bring vastly different perspectives to the subject of contemporary Indian culture at the reservation.

John Hitchcock, an artist of Comanche heritage who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, created an installation featuring simulated buffalo hides stacked on humps, representing the importance of buffalo to indigenous people, as well as a slow-motion video projection from last summer's powwow at Fort Totten.

He has said his work explores the past, present and future of American Indian communities across the Plains.

Winnipeg artist Tim Schouten created 46 paintings for the exhibit — four landscapes using encaustic, a hot wax medium; 10 text paintings; and 23 acrylic portrait studies.

“I hope that my work somehow captures a sense of the journey I have been on to understand life in this place, to understand the ties that bind this place with the rest of us and the struggles that all of us go through to try to find a way to live together in this world,” Schouten said in May at the New York show.

Other artists are Terry Jelsing, a Rugby, N.D., multimedia artist; Bill Harbort, an art professor at Minot State University; Mary Lucier, a New York video artist; and Rena Effendi, a photographer originally from Azerbaijan.

If you go: The North Dakota Museum of Art is at 261 Centennial Drive on the UND campus. The public opening is at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 5 p.m. weekends. Free-will donations are accepted.