Native American Art Showcased

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Tim Nevaquaya’s painted hand drum on display at Exhibit C gallery.
“Cowboy Prayer” by Margaret Dillard.
Danny Beaver’s stained and painted disc.

By Linda Miller

Three venues known for showcasing Native American art are giving visitors an opportunity to see traditional as well as non-traditional pieces.

A painted hand drum exhibit continues through Oct. 31 at Exhibit C gallery in downtown Oklahoma City. About 70 miles south on I-35, Margaret Dillard’s oil and acrylic paintings are on display at the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center in Davis. Just down the road, Danny Beaver’s stained and painted wood plates, discs and war clubs can be seen at the Chickasaw Visitor Center in Sulphur. Both exhibits continue through November.

In Native American culture, animal skin or leather stretched over wood or pottery has always been an art form. The hand drum exhibit is an extension of that art form.

Featured artists, most of whom are showing their first painted hand drum, are Tim Nevaquaya, Comanche, Chickasaw and Choctaw; Jeremy Wallace, Chickasaw and Mississippi Choctaw; Marwin Begaye, Navajo; Paul Moore, Chickasaw; Brent Greenwood, Chickasaw and Ponca; Brent Learned, Cheyenne-Arapaho; and George Levi, Cheyenne, Arapaho and Oglala Lakota.

“With the seven artists, we have an exceptional representation of several tribes uniting to share their cultural visions through depictions on hand drums showcased in one of the most toured parts of our city,” said Paige Williams, director of corporate development and tourism for the Chickasaw Nation.

Hand drums can be played similar to a traditional pow wow drum, but painted hand drums are meant to be showcased and appreciated as fine art pieces.

Dillard, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, began working in art as a young child and has since maintained her interest.

“As a young child, I recall using color to ensure that pictures and drawings were accurate,” said Dillard, whose oil and acrylic paintings are on display and for sale at the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center. “My grandmother was an original Chickasaw enrollee. I’ve been told that she used to paint, and I have several family members who are artists in different forms, creativity runs in our family.”

A citizen of the Muskogee Creek Nation, Beaver uses traditional southeastern designs from the Mississippian Period for his art inspiration.

“The traditional southeastern designs from the Mississippian Period, also known as the Mound Period, are not seen or used much in today’s world,” Beaver said. “I like to include these designs into the wooden plates and war clubs that I create. The designs tell stories of settlers and represent ceremonial periods of history.”
Beaver’s pieces are hand-cut and then burned and stained to achieve the special color and design of the wood. He then carves and paints the plates, discs and war clubs. His hand-crafted pieces are showcased and for sale at the Chickasaw Visitor Center.

For more information on Exhibit C, go to www.exhibitcgallery.com. For more information about the welcome center and visitor center, go to chickasawcountry.com.

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