Full Circle/Omani Wakan: Lakota Artist Rhonda Holy Bear

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Included with Basic admission

Closes Jan 13, 2019

All ages

Included with Basic admission

Closes Jan 13, 2019

All ages

About the Exhibit

An artist makes an emotional return to the source of her inspiration.

In the Lakota language, “Omani Wakan” refers to a sacred journey. Full Circle/Omani Wakan: Lakota Artist Rhonda Holy Bear is a window into the journey of an artist who has dedicated her life to discovering and drawing on her cultural and spiritual identity.

Full Circle/Omani Wakan is installed adjacent to the Native North American Hall, a source of inspiration for Rhonda Holy Bear during her teenage years. Years later, Holy Bear returns to the museum an accomplished artist.

This exhibition showcases 16 of her intricate figures featuring carving, beading, and quillworking techniques derived from the traditions of the Lakota and Plains peoples. Holy Bear worked with museum staff to co-curate the exhibition, selecting her own works as well as objects from our collection. Set among artifacts that helped define her as an artist, her detailed figures revive old traditions with new reverence.

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This child’s leather dress, adorned with beads, would have been made with care that signified a family’s love and honor. Rhonda Holy Bear photographed it when she first visited the Field Museum’s collection in the early 1980s.

This piece represents Rhonda Holy Bear’s grandmother as a child standing with her grandparents. The doll in the child’s hand symbolizes the one that inspired Holy Bear’s artistic journey.

John Weinstein

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