Grantee:  Dyani White Hawk
Native Citizenship: Sičáŋǧu Lakota
Location:  Shakopee, Minn.
Award:  2017 NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship
Discipline:  Contemporary Visual Arts, Mixed Media
Web Site:

White Hawk recognizes that passing the knowledge, ideas, belief systems and skills of Native people to others will reinforce and continue tribal traditions, cultural expressions, languages, and lifeways so as not to be lost or forgotten in the contemporary context of today’s modern world. Therefore, she is committed to sharing her working experience and knowledge of both her traditional and contemporary artistic techniques and art practice with her apprentice.

For her 2017 NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship, Dyani White Hawk will teach Lakota beading and porcupine quillwork techniques to her apprentice, Jennie Kappenman (Red Lake Ojibwe), for the creation of a collaborative mixed media project. She plans for a cross-cultural exchange by working with an apprentice from a neighboring tribe. Both artists—through research in museum collections and exhibitions—will deepen their understanding of the meaning and interpretation of their respective tribe’s traditional works and designs that may then be applied in a contemporary visual concept for their collaborative project.

As a woman of Lakota and European ancestry, White Hawk was raised among Native American communities within urban landscapes. Her work is known through numerous solo and group exhibitions, art awards, and fellowships as a reflection of these cross-cultural experiences through the combination of modern abstract painting and traditional Lakota art forms. Some works are executed strictly in paint; others incorporate beads, porcupine quills, ledger paper, brass sequins and other materials representing a Lakota aesthetic.

Dyani White Hawk also plans to share her extensive knowledge about curating and the general business side of art, from which she hopes her apprentice can work towards a sustainable artistic practice.

By having an apprentice work in my studio I can provide consistent feedback and encourage her to challenge the strength of her artistic output.
~ Dyani White Hawk

Mentor and Apprentice Joint Art Project:

Dyani White Hawk and Jennie Kappenman created a two-dimensional mixed-media work, incorporating oil, beads, porcupine quills and thread on canvas. The work, titled Ogiishkmanisii (King Fisher), is currently part of the Plains Art Museum exhibition, Waasamoo-Beshizi, which is open until July 31, 2019. Since the mentorship, Kappenman has developed into a full-time artist and looks forward to a growing career.

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