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The Scene: Dyani White Hawk

The Scene: Dyani White Hawk

Visual artist and curator

The Scene: Dyani White Hawk

Visual artist and curator
Summer 2024 issue of American Craft magazine
Dyani White Hawk in her studio in Northeast Minneapolis.

Dyani White Hawk in her studio in Northeast Minneapolis. Photos courtesy of Dyani White Hawk and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

White Hawk was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and moved with her husband and oldest daughter to the Twin Cities in 2011. Her mother had moved earlier, “so the Twin Cities have been home base for over two decades.” The Sicaŋgu Lakota artist believes Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund gives local artists an edge. “I am really proud to share that Minnesota has funding for the arts written into legislation,” White Hawk says. “The statewide buy-in for the arts is really apparent here, especially once you’ve had the opportunity to speak with artists and those in the field who live in states that don’t have such integral support. The fact that we have many available studio buildings and that these are often full demonstrates our collective commitment to creation and the commitment to artists and makers.” In addition, she sees “a wave of growth” in the arts “toward increased equity, inclusiveness, the celebration of diversity, and the dismantling of unhealthy racial, economic, and societal hierarchies. The strength of generations of activism that has culminated in the Twin Cities and tribal nations of Mni Sota is significant and continues to contribute to our world in profoundly important and influential ways.”
 
Even so, there are challenges to working out of a studio in Minneapolis. “First, I want to acknowledge, there are challenges in life no matter where you are or what you’re pursuing or dreaming toward,” White Hawk says. “I love our community, the land, the connection and proximity to family, my studio, and those who work with me. The greatest challenges are that our field is still very coast-centric and most people still have very little understanding of and exposure to Native history, communities, and people.”

dyaniwhitehawk.com | @dwhitehawk

ARTISTS WHITE HAWK ADMIRES:
Textile and beadwork artist Jennie Kappenman; textile artist and designer Maggie Thompson of Makwa Studio; beadwork artist Jessica Gokey; multidisciplinary artist Cole Redhorse Taylor; fashion designer and beadwork artist Delina White; quillwork and beadwork artist Melvin Losh; birch bark and quillwork artist Pat Kruse; and photographer and beadwork artist Jaida Grey Eagle (see her portrait of Maggie Thompson here).

White Hawk's Carry I, 2019, buckskin, synthetic sinew, antique glass beads, brass sequins, canvas, acrylic, and dyed feathers, approx. 110 x 15 in. Photo courtesy of Dyani White Hawk.

White Hawk's Carry I, 2019, buckskin, synthetic sinew, antique glass beads, brass sequins, canvas, acrylic, and dyed feathers, approx. 110 x 15 in.

The artist works on She Gives (Quiet Strength VII), 2020, acrylic on canvas, 84 x 120 in. In the foreground is her Untitled (All the Colors), 2020, acrylic, bugle beads, thread, and synthetic sinew on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Photo courtesy of Dyani White Hawk.

The artist works on She Gives (Quiet Strength VII), 2020, acrylic on canvas, 84 x 120 in. In the foreground is her Untitled (All the Colors), 2020, acrylic, bugle beads, thread, and synthetic sinew on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

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This article was made possible with support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

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