Gerald Cournoyer

Sending a Voice

March 18, 2023 - September 30, 2023

Fred Donath, Jr. Memorial Gallery

After a 25-year exploration of all aspects of Lakota lifeways through ceremony, dance, and prayer, Gerald Cournoyer presents his observations in his newest solo exhibition, Sending A Voice. Gerald Cournoyer rejects Edward Curtis’s observations that the Lakota are a people of the past. He states, “We are more than a photograph [,]” emphasizing in his work that the ceremonies and events in Curtis’s photographs are contemporary events vital to the identity of the 21st century Lakota. The long tradition of Lakota ceremonies such as hanblecha, Sun Dance, and Keeping A Soul are still central to Lakota life ways despite the dark legacy of the 20th-century boarding school era, Cournoyer states,

“Attending St. Paul’s Indian Mission in Marty, SD we were not permitted to speak our language or participate in ceremonials. This abandonment of culture, language, history, spirituality, and traditional lifeways were brought in after the end of the Indian Mission Boarding School Era ended. It seemed like overnight it was finally acceptable to be Native American.”

Gerald Cournoyer (Oglala Sioux Tribe) holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma and a Master’s in Non-Profit Arts Management and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Philanthropy and Funding from Central Michigan University. Born and raised in Marty, South Dakota, Cournoyer is the Tribal Arts Instructor at United Tribes Technical College. Cournoyer has blended his cultural and artistic backgrounds to connect with his students throughout his 30-year career. Cournoyer is also the lead instructor for the Northern Plains Summer Art Institute from June 18th-30th.

Gerald Cournoyer and Joe Williams Art Panel
Thursday, March 30 • Artist reception at 5:30 PM, Talk begins at 6 PM • Free

Join artist Gerald Cournoyer and Director of Native American Programs Joe Williams as they discuss Cournoyer’s latest solo exhibition Sending a Voice. The duo will discuss their 25-year collaboration from working with Native youth with the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute to the Plains Art Museum’s Northern Plains Summer Art Institute. The two will discuss the importance of Native American art history, mentorship, and Native American presence in the contemporary art world today. Refreshments will be provided.

Plains Art Museum thanks our generous PlainsArt4All members and donors, and our Organizational Partners for their support. Additional support provided by The McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation, The Arts Partnership, The FUNd at Plains Art Museum, and the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funds from the North Dakota Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
left to right: Gerald Cournoyer, Euler Diagram, 2014, Oil on canvas • Gerald Cournoyer, Hidden Ravens, 2009, Oil on canvas • Gerald Cournoyer, Movement, 2005, Oil on canvas

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