Growing up, no matter which career path Bunky Echo-Hawk chose, he knew that he would contribute to the wellbeing of Indian Country. That commitment resonates in his work which is a counterpoint to the lingering Western romantic notion of Native Americans. Echo-Hawk has exhibited in numerous galleries and prestigious museums throughout the U.S. and Europe, and is in the collections of museums such as the Field, the Peabody and the Hallie Ford. He has been awarded several residencies and has been featured in publications including Cowboys & Indians Magazine and Yellow Medicine Review Anthology. He is kept busy by the overwhelming demand for his live art performances.
Bunky Echo-Hawk grew up surrounded by Native traditions, American Indian political and social activism, and artistic creativity. Listening to the stimulating conversations between his parents and their friends—tribal leaders, attorneys, judges, activists and artists— left a lasting impression on him socially and culturally.
As an artist, Echo-Hawk has been painting for more than 20 years. He portrays and reflects reality as he witnesses and experiences it. His provocative paintings may be subjectively sorrowful or satirically ironic. He challenges his viewers to be both inquisitive and contemplative in order to initiate discussions about the meaning behind his work. Recent paintings challenge viewers “to see the land as Indian land, which we (Natives) share with everyone.”
In addition to his art, Echo-Hawk has conducted numerous workshops throughout Indian Country on suicide and substance abuse prevention, working with survivors, incarcerated youth, and addicts. He continues to lecture and present live art performances at public and private schools, colleges, universities, nonprofits, corporations, and conferences both in the U.S. and abroad.
During his Fellowship year, Echo-Hawk aims to create a series of paintings that investigate the intersection of Native America and Christianity.
My culture is infused in everything I create. When I create anything, I start with a pallet that consists only of our 4 sacred colors. I pray, in my own language. I think of my ancestors, my youth, my people, our struggles and successes, I think of my own children. I think of our future. And I paint.
– Bunky Echo-Hawk