RAPID CITY, S.D.(KOTA)- This weekend say Main Street Square filled with artists, as the Native Pop Arts Festival celebrated ten years of highlighting native artists of all mediums.
Lafawn Janis, executive director for Native Pop, opened Friday nights award ceremony acknowledging key donors and partners.
Winning Best in Show was Beverly Moran, whose colorful, layered dress was entered into the “adornment” category.
Moran offered some insight into the working process of the piece.
Moran, who has submitted entries to arts festivals for twenty years and is on the verge of retiring, offered her advice to beginning artists.
Moran cited her heritage and experiences in ceremonies as key influences on her work.
While cultural heritage was the main focus at the Native Pop Arts Festival in Rapid City last weekend, there were undeniable political tones to some of the pieces.
For example, Eunice Straight Ahead, a photographer who questions the lens indigenous people have historically been captured by.
Straight Ahead placed in the two-dimensional category, and said she wants people to feel “seen” through her work.
A painter, Keith BraveHeart, tries to focus on local relevance in the Rapid City market.
One of BraveHeart’s entries, “Intergenerational Vacancies,” depicts a collection of bison laying beside the sign of an embattled Rapid City hotel. BraveHeart said it is up to the viewer to decide if those bison are alive or not.
BraveHeart says he carries a sense of responsibility in his work.
Another of BraveHeart’s work won the Native Pop publicity award, meaning it will be used in next years festivals promotional material.
“Waziyata” (Wah-Zee-ya-ta) translates roughly to “north”, and depicts a man holding a bison skull, surrounded by magpies, in front of a sign that says “welcome to North Rapid.”