Fred Donath, Jr. Memorial Gallery
Plains Art Museum is honored to feature over 50 works of art from nationally acclaimed artist Oscar Howe (Yanktonai Dakota). Oscar Howe: Ikíćiksapa, focuses on Howe’s complete artistic process from the drawings he developed on his drafting table to his completed paintings ready for the gallery wall. The gallery’s unique presentation of Howe’s artistic process from beginning to end, from drafted drawing to finished painting, helps highlight Howe’s graphic quality and intense artistic design he developed throughout his career. The gallery also includes a re-creation of Howe’s studio, with both replicas of his materials along with items from his actual studio space, to help put you in the mindset of this renowned and talented artist.
Ikíćiksapa is a Dakota phrase translating to “Instruct one in the right way” and describes an important piece of Howe’s life and career. Howe has always received recognition for his talents and intelligence, as he was originally gifted the traditional name of, “Ksapa” translating to “The Intelligent One” in Dakota. Howe spent his career as an art professor at the University of South Dakota and more importantly mentoring and inspiring generations of Native American and Indigenous youth to enter into the arts. Of his many lessons, Howe stressed integrity in their work and subject matter, and the importance of Indigenous art programs, passing down a legacy of lessons that are still taught and impact students to this day.
Oscar Howe (1915-1983) was born on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation in South Dakota in 1915. He attended Pierre Indian School and Sante Fe Indian School before obtaining his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Dakota Wesleyan, and received his MFA from the University of Oklahoma in 1954. Author of the famous letter to the Philbrook Museum challenging its take on “Indian Art”, Howe revolutionized Native American art and ushering in it into the modern era. Howe passed away in 1983, leaving behind a legacy that stands today as one of the most important artists in American history.