Chickasaw artists’ work on display in Davis and Sulphur

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“Axis Mundi” by Erin Shaw is included in an exhibit of her paintings at the Chicksaw Visitor Center in Sulphur.
Drue Ridley’s “Healing Waters” is on display at the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center in Davis.

Chickasaw artists’ work on display in Davis and Sulphur

By Linda Miller

Artwork by Chickasaw native artists Drue Ridley and Erin Shaw, both known for their innovative techniques, is on display at separate locations in south-central Oklahoma.

Ridley’s paintings are on view at the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center in Davis, and Shaw’s art is featured at the Chickasaw Visitor Center in Sulphur. Both exhibits continue through October.

As a self-taught artist, Ridley uses bold color and an interesting mix of pastels, watercolors, acrylics, silk fabric, dyes, clay and textiles to reflect her heritage and culture.

“My Chickasaw heritage radiates through each painting offering life-giving and captivating energy to arouse one’s imagination,” Ridley said. “I am a visionary artist with a unique style which invites the viewer into the creative power of the heart and the wonder and beauty of the soul. Each painting has a story to tell and I am the visionary messenger.”

Ridley’s art also can be seen at the Tishomingo Chickasaw Health Clinic, the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur and the Chickasaw Nation department of tourism offices in Oklahoma City. By invitation, her work was exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris. Ridley was named New Artist of Oklahoma in 1994 at the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, and her art has won many awards.

Shaw, a visual storyteller, also uses humor in her paintings, often conveying the contrast between two things or ideas that are entirely different. As an American Indian, Chickasaw and Choctaw, Shaw uses her heritage to tell stories and often incorporates Southeastern symbols and nature themes into her storylines.

“I believe that we are all collectors of stories,” Shaw said. “Stories we collect through our lifetime shape the person we are and the person we will become. I like to combine two opposing things or ideas in one story to force our minds to think differently.”

Shaw teaches art courses at the University of Central Oklahoma. Her artwork has been showcased in many states, including Oklahoma, Minnesota and Michigan.

Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center is at the southwest corner of exit 55 on I-35. It has a lounge area, vending machines, an outdoor children’s playground and dog park. For more information, call (580) 369-4222 or go to ChickasawCountry.com.

The Chickasaw Visitor Center, across the street from the Artesian Hotel, is at the northeast corner of Broadway and State Highway 7 in Sulphur. It includes a lounge area, gift shop and multi-media video room. For information, call (580) 622-8050.

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