Chickasaw, Choctaw Artists Bring Top Work to “Ikbi” Partnership

Chickasaw master woodworker and craftsman Richard Thomas greets visitors to his mixed wood wall hanging titled “Broken Arrows” during a VIP reception at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gaylord-Pickens Museum.

Published July 8, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Chickasaw and Choctaws nations held a VIP reception June 29 to showcase an art exhibit featuring 16 Chickasaw and 19 Choctaw artists.

“Ikbi: Chickasaws and Choctaws Sharing Our History and Culture Through Art” officially opened May 31 at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gaylord-Pickens Museum. The leaders of both tribes – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby and Chief of the Choctaw Nation Gary Batton – were on hand to welcome a large crowd of artists, arts patrons and tribal officials.

“Ikbi” means “to create” in both the Chickasaw and Choctaw languages.

The exhibit will run through Sept. 22 at the state hall of fame, 1400 Classen Drive.

The show marks the second time in one month the Chickasaw Nation has celebrated a public showing of artwork by Chickasaw citizens. A VIP and artist reception was hosted at Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the University of Oklahoma campus June 7 for “Visual Voices,” an all-Chickasaw art exhibit which runs through Sept. 9.

Several artists featured at “Visual Voices” also are displaying works at Ikbi. They are California jewelry designer Kristen Dorsey; textile artist and weaver Tyra Shackleford; painter Brent Greenwood; painter Bill Hensley; painter Brenda Kingery, potter Joanna Underwood-Blackburn, textile and garment maker Margaret Wheeler; carver and painter Dustin Mater, and blade smith Daniel Worcester.

Chief of the Choctaw Nation Gary Batton and Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby welcomed a large crowd of artists, art lovers and officials for a joint art show June 29.

Joining them are Rena Smith, an Oregonian who is a puckered-toe moccasin maker and expert on ancient Chickasaw garments, footwear and pigment dying techniques; Paula Loftin, a photographer specializing in Indian and Western-themed image-making; E. Dee Tabor, an artist who excels in many genres particularly jewelry; Richard Thomas, a master woodworker and restoration expert; Mike Larsen, an Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductee, painter and sculptor; Ben White, a former fireman who now uses flames for pottery aesthetics and Kelley Lunsford, an artist working in several media, primarily textiles.

Choctaw artists include Carole Ayers, painter; J. Dylan Cavin, painter and ledger artist; Karen Clarkson, a Prescott, Arizona, painter; Chester Cowen, who excels in bead work; Norma Howard, painter; Paul King, painter; David Lawrence, painter, Gwen Coleman Lester, painter; Brenda Mackey, painter and Laurie Moore, a Peoria, Illinois, painter.

Other Choctaw artists include Lauretta Newby-Coker, who specializes in stained glass; Edmon Perkins, pottery; Chris Reiger, painter; Nancy Rhoades, painter; Jane Semple Umsted, painter; D.G. Smalling, a painter who specializes in a unique style of painting. His brush, once on the canvas, is never taken off it; Floyd Gene Smith, a metal art sculptor; Bobby Von Martin, a Fresno, California, painter and Carolyn Bernard Young, a Weatherford, Texas, potter.

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