Providing a voice through art
Rapid City, S.D. — The NDN Collective will be moving its headquarters, but for one night, the new facility became an Ancestor’s Warpaint gallery.
12 native artists joined the creative director of Thrive Creative, Focus Smith, in letting their voices be heard through their art. With racial tensions running high and growing nationally, the land back campaign is gaining traction, giving an opportunity for indigenous people in Rapid City to be heard and seen. On display, spray painted graffiti and symbols of Lakota culture, political messages, and even a mural of CEO and president Nick Tilsen filled the walls. The entire exhibit took about a month to complete, but was showcased for one night.
Focus Smith, Creative Director Thrive Creative
“Symbolically given that graffiti is ephemeral, it’s out there in the community, out there in society,” said Smith. “Given that it only lasts for a certain amount of time, and so it’s following that same trend here which makes it all the more impactful, and all the more insightful.”
One of the messages that stood out to visitors was #Landback, referring to the return of the Black Hills to the natives, as many indigenous people believe it would be the first step in the healing process.
Krystal Two Bulls, Director of Land Back Campaign NDN Collective
“We really are going back and focusing on the fact that if we want to create real change, we want to end these systems of oppression, then we have to take it back to the roots, which is demanding our land back,” said the director of the Land Back campaign, Krystal Two Bulls
The turnout was exceptional, and for those who may have missed out, Smith will be collaborating with Denver based artist Love Grow for another mural at the Racing Magpie.