2017-05-18 / Voices

Tapun Sa Win Reception Yamni


This Friday, May 19, at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, Red Cloud Indian School’s Heritage Center will host a free public reception honoring the artists of the Tapun Sa Win exhibit. From 5-8pm that evening, the spotlight will shine on the artists of Vignette Yamni: sculptor JhonDuane Goes In Center, musician Sissy GoodHouse, painter Roger Broer and poet Mabel Picotte.

The exhibit focuses on the narrative of a Lakota woman—Red Cheek Woman—who married a star, and whose son was raised by Lakotas before returning to his father’s relatives in the sky world. The exhibit divides the narrative into seven passages, and each passage is interpreted by a sculptor, a musician, a painter and a poet.

The third passage takes place in the sky world. It is springtime and Red Cheek Woman is pregnant. She is also feeling lonely since her husband—Starman—is away wandering the sky, and her mother and relatives are far away on the earth below. So when she sees a plant that reminds her of tinpsila, she digs it up, hoping that its taste will quench her loneliness. Instead, pulling up the root created a hole in the sky through which she could see her relatives far below.

This portion of the narrative is what JhonDuane Goes in Center, Sissy GoodHouse, Roger Broer and Mabel Picotte drew inspiration from to create their artworks.

In addition to being an acclaimed silversmith, JhonDuane Goes In Center (Oglala Sioux Tribe) has mastered many other traditional and contemporary artistic techniques, including painting, sculpture, metalwork and engraving. For this passage, he created an exquisite brooch that represents a braid of tinpsila. Silver wires twisted together resemble tinpsila roots, and polished Fairburn agates resemble tinpsilas. This composition is attached to an eight-pointed silver star, representing Starman, with a red garnet—representing Red Cheek Woman—in its center.

As a musician, Sissy GoodHouse (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) has contributed to many recordings, including two solo efforts— The Third Circle and Tiwahé. She teaches Lakota language and culture at Standing Rock High School in Fort Yates, North Dakota. Her rhythmic song lyrics for this passage are in Lakota and mean, “When I do this (meaning picking berries or turnips), I remember my mother.”

Roger Broer’s (Oglala Sioux Tribe) artworks have been exhibited in over 200 shows and are included in both national and international collections. Working out of his studio in Hill City, South Dakota, the viewpoint of his piece for this passage is from the sky world, perhaps looking over the shoulder of Red Cheek Woman, and through the hole created when she removed the root. The hole is cut out of the paper, and behind the paper he affixed a mirror that covers the hole. The fascinating effect is that when you look at the piece, you see your reflection, or the reflection of the exhibit gallery.

Mabel Picotte (Yankton Sioux Tribe) is a high school English teacher at Tiospa Zina Tribal School, with a Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an award-winning poet and a member of the Oak Lake Writers’ Society. Her evocative poem is written from the viewpoint of Red Cheek Woman as she digs the root from the sky world.

The Heritage Center will provide refreshments and serve as the evening’s host. In the Museum’s theater, Mr. Goes In Center and Mr. Broer will talk about their works, Ms. Picotte will perform her poem, and a recording of Ms. GoodHouse’s song will be played.

Afterwards the exhibit will be opened for viewing and fellowship. We hope to see you there!

*The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies is an Indian-controlled nonprofit research and education center founded in 2004 and located in the Lacreek District of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

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