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Indigenous Expressions

Illustrations by David Ben White (Oglala Lakota)

Exhibit December 6, 2021 – February 25, 2022
Miikanan Gallery

Opening Reception to be determined

This exhibit is supported, in part, by these organizations:

Blandin Foundation LogoMcKnight LogoNWICDC Logo

Artist Statement

David Ben White lives in Ponemah, MN on the Red Lake Reservation. He is Oglala Lakota and an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Reservation at Wolf Point, Montana. He is a survivor of the boarding school era where young children were removed from their families. His earliest memories involve being in a nursery with other crying children in the Montana Children’s Home, unofficially known as “The Orphan’s home,” in Twin Bridges, Montana. He recalls drawing the artwork for the cover of their newsletter at a very young age. He later was adopted around age nine, and his family eventually moved to Coon Rapids, Minnesota where he continued developing his interest in art throughout high school by taking part in art classes and many community art projects.

David has been influenced by various artists, and had a special appreciation for surrealism and the works of Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock, Peter Max, Denny Dent and native artist, George Morrison. David’s artistic styles and interests include acrylic painting, soft chalk pastels, drawing, sketching, cartooning, wood burning and leather work. He also designs unique wearable art and creates found object displays.

David has entered pieces in various exhibitions, community art fairs and contests. He is a member of the Region 2 Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Council and a former Grantee. He has displayed pieces at the Two Rivers Art Gallery and the Minneapolis American Indian Center in Minneapolis and locally at various art markets and expos including Region 2 events, Art From Within of the Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project, Red Lake Nation College, Leech Lake Tribal College, and Headwaters School of Music and Arts. He has also attended various art workshops learning about art resources from the First Peoples’ Fund and Springboard for the Arts.

Artist Bio

This collection of recent illustrations explores indigenous art, culture and traditions and is influenced by stories passed forward from Anishinaabe, Lakota and other tribal nations. David continues to develop art creations daily. He is interested in mural projects, Illustrating Anishinaabe/Lakota children’s books, exploring the arts by accessing online collections, developing his knowledge of printing resources and website development. As an artist he is energized by being involved in the local art community helping to develop and maintain arts programs that showcase the talents of local artists.