The Us Urban 5 exhibit promotes healing aspects of art

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University Art Galleries at The University of South Dakota presents “Urban 5: Art of Healing” exhibition at the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts on the USD campus.

The show, which runs through Thursday, June 25, presents paintings, prints and mixed media work by five distinguished Native American artists. The group, who work in association with the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic to promote art as a part of the healing process, is linked by a common concern with health issues among American Indians, by a shared commitment to use art to raise public awareness of the alarming health plight of Indian people, and by the belief that art evoking Native traditions can contribute to healthier life styles.

Artists featured in the exhibition are Marwin Begaye, Navajo; Gerald Cournoyer, Oglala Lakota; Shan Goshorn, Eastern Band Cherokee; Brent Greenwood, Ponca/Delaware; and Thomas Poolaw, Kiowa/Delaware. Begaye uses corporate logos to create strong graphic images attacking the causes of diabetes while Cournoyer incorporates traditional prayer into his painting process. Goshorn uses multimedia to create curative images based on the grounding forces of nature and Greenwood employs his heritage to document the old ways of life that can generate wellness in the 21st century. Poolaw combines painting and photography to entice viewers into thinking about the real lives of American Indians.

According to Eddie Welch, director of the University Art Galleries, the Main Gallery has regularly offered a major Native American art exhibition in June due to the many special Indian activities sponsored by USD during the summer. This show was selected because both Cournoyer and Begaye have long standing associations with the University and because American Indian health is an issue in South Dakota and Oklahoma.

The Main Gallery in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts is open free of charge from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends. Tours and special showings during non-public hours are available upon request. For more information about this exhibition, contact Welch at (605) 677-3177 or e-mail him at Eddie.Welch@usd.edu.