Tulsa Community College exhibit calls for Native artists
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Imagine a circle, in the middle stands a human with the rest of the animal kingdom surrounding them. Grab the circle in your mind and turn it to reveal it is a cone and the human stands on top as the most superior being on this earth.
Now flatten the cone, pluck the man from the center and position him to be a part of the circle equal to all the rest of the living creatures.
The final action is a primitive way to explain what it means to challenge the idea of anthropocentrism, the belief that human beings are the most important entity in the universe.
An upcoming exhibition ‘Convergence: Challenging Anthropocentrism,’ at the Thomas K. McKeon Center for Creativity is calling for artists to explore man’s connection as a product of and equal participants in this world through expressions of various mediums.
Daniel Musgrave (Osage) and Yatika Starr Fields (Cherokee/Creek/Osage) are the curators for the exhibition.
Musgrave formed the concept of the show, inspired by his grandmother and mother who built his relationship with the natural world while growing up in Kansas.
Musgrave said his other inspiration was his time before he became a writer. He had previously conducted cognitive research with great apes for seven years.
Musgrave said his observations of the apes’ lives, family and intelligence instilled a desire to push the boundaries limited by the mainstream scientific world that commonly acknowledged two different worlds; humans and everything else.
“I felt that this view limited our ability to understand the other and learn,” he said.
Musgrave said this type of thinking has also caused atrocities between human populations, including the genocide of Native American people.
“It’s a Western idea that is artificial, and it hurts us and the earth,” he said.
Musgrave approached Starr Fields to contribute to the visual arts component of the exhibition.
“I envision artists stepping in and kind of reading the information that we give them through the process of submitting work,” Starr Fields said. “They’re creating a dialogue for this exhibition.”
He said he wants the artists to use their work to speak to the general public, the majority of which may not be aware of the subject.
“We live in a time where nature is kind of in the background often times and we’re trying to bring it forth,” Starr Fields said.
Starr Fields said he sees an opportunity for Native artists to look at their culture and its relation to nature for exploration of the subject.
“A lot of tribes have their creation stories, ceremonies and everything derived around the earth. You can really elaborate long and far with just that information right there,” he said.
Artists are invited to submit their work to possibly be included in the upcoming exhibition with Native American artists given special consideration.
“If they wish to offer their work for sale, they are welcome to that,” Dean for the Center of Creativity Annina Collier said.
She said there is also a $100 honorarium once the artwork is accepted and delivered to the center.
According to a press release, each artist may submit up to three pieces for consideration. Each submission should include up to three images per artwork in JPG format with the artwork’s dimensions, medium and brief written description.
Sketches for new works are also accepted. Deadline is set for Nov. 1 and selected artists will be notified the week of Nov. 12. The exhibition will run Jan. 2-29 at The Center for Creativity.
Submissions should include artist’s full name, contact information, tribal affiliation, if any and sent to Cindy Armstrong at: email@example.com comment