February 26, 2015
Four well-known Native American artists, Brad Woods, James Wallace, D.G. Smalling and Tyra Shackleford, have their contemporary art pieces, including, photography, finger weaving and painting on exhibit at three separate locations in south-central Oklahoma. From now through June, Brad Woods' photographs will be featured at the Chickasaw Visitor Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma; James Wallace's photographs and Tyra Shackleford's finger weaving will be on display at the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center in Davis, Oklahoma; and D.G. Smalling's paintings will be on display at Exhibit C in Oklahoma City. Wood, Wallace, Shackleford and Smalling create unique pieces of art by diverse resources of photography, painting and finger weaving.
Brad Woods, Chickasaw Visitor Center, Sulphur, Oklahoma
Woods is a primarily self-taught photographer, who as a young boy developed his great love for nature and the outdoors. Woods' passion for photography in nature and outdoors has inspired his travels across the United States. Woods started his travels by seeing his home state, Oklahoma in fifth grade; which ignited a passion for visiting other states, and has now seen 48 of the 50 states, only missing California and Michigan.
"At the age of 14, in high school, I started drawing, painting and taking photos," said Woods. "My love for wildlife and landscapes became dominant as time went on, which led me to take more photographs. Seeing the diversity of the landscapes and wildlife the United States has to offer, gave me motivation to photograph my travels and share our country with people the way I saw it, through photography."
Woods, 27, is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and earned a B.S. in biology from East Central University. In 2015, Woods will participate in the Artist of the Arbuckles for the third year. In the first two years, Woods won three first place awards and one second place award for his photography artwork.
D.G. Smalling, Exhibit C, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Smalling has been an artist for as long as he can remember. Encouraged by his Mother and a woman that acted like a Grandmother to him, Kay Orr, Smalling said art -performing or visual- is a way of life for him and his family. Smalling has been creating ‘single-line' art, an image drawn in a continuous line, for more than 10 years. Smalling was introduced to ‘single-line' art by his interest for minimalism and his Choctaw heritage.
"Every piece I create, regardless of scale, is one continuous line," said Smalling. "My work has evolved into an exercise of contemporary Southeastern ‘neo-hieroglyphics,' the re-approach to hieroglyphic art of my Choctaw heritage, in a modern way, in terms of materials, techniques and subjects. The subjects I depict are rarely historical because I want to describe life today."
The continuous line in Smalling's art defines the contours of the subject, at which point Smalling develops the contoured areas with paint and/or ink. With this technique, the neo-hieroglyph conforms to tradition, but is dynamically fluid with motion, not rigid, thus depicting life today.
Smalling's art has been portrayed in several exhibitions, including featured artist at Epcot Disney World: State of Oklahoma Centennial Show in 2007, Grand Palais "Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture á l'Eau" in Paris, France in 2011 and National Museum of the American Indian "Choctaw Codetalkers Celebration" in Washington, DC in 2012. In addition, Smalling has been commissioned to paint several portraits, including U.S. Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole, T. Boone Pickens, Sir Tony Blair former Prime Minister of the UK, Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, among many other notable dignitaries.
James Wallace, Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center, Davis, Oklahoma
Wallace started with his passion for photography more than 20 years ago in high school. Once entering college, Wallace really enjoyed working in the dark room and developing his own film. Since he was a young child, Wallace has always enjoyed photographs, feeling that photos are story tellers and conversation starters. In the past five years, Wallace has started exploring the digital side of photography and searching for new ways to present his love for photography.
"I like going into someone's home and looking at their photos, I feel as if the images they display have a story to tell," Wallace said. "A photo allows someone to keep an image of a moment or place that is very special to them and is a natural conversation starter. Being a photographer allows me to share a moment the way that I saw it; I enjoy capturing people in their natural habitat."
To make his work stand out, Wallace has started adding his photographs to wood and metal with a coat of acrylic resin. This technique has won Wallace awards at the Southeastern Arts Show and Market, and allowed Wallace's work to stand out. Wallace is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation and received his B.A. from East Central University in arts and speech theatre. Wallace also earned a Masters of Fine Arts in contemporary theatre practice from the University of Essex in Colchester, England.
Tyra Shackleford, Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center, Davis, Oklahoma
Shackleford, an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, has been finger weaving for more than 16 years and selling her finger weaving fashions for more than 10 years. Shackleford gives credit to her father and many other Native Americans for sharing their knowledge on culture, traditions and heritage with her. It's because of her knowledge of culture and tradition, combined with the teachings of Seminole enrollee, Wisey Narcomey, that Shackleford learned the art of finger weaving.
"My father immersed my sister and me in cultural activities at a young age, which began my knowledge of the importance of our culture. One characteristic of being Chickasaw is the act of sharing and passing on traditional knowledge to others so our culture is not lost," said Shackleford. "I am honored to be part of the preservation of my culture and history through art such as finger weaving."
Shackleford has attended traditional stomp dances with her parents since she was a young child, and has been a member of the Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe since 2000. Shackleford received a B.S. in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from East Central University. Shackleford has won many awards for her finger weaving, including most recently second place at the 2014 Red Earth Festival for a belt that was entered into the clothing and textiles category and two first place awards from the 2014 Southeastern Arts Show and Market, for a vest that was entered into the contemporary fashion category and for a belt that was entered into the textiles category.
Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center in Davis, Oklahoma
Located adjacent to Bedré Fine Chocolate, the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center is located at the southwest corner of exit 55 on Interstate 35. Opened in November 2012, the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center has several amenities including a lounge area, vending machines, an outdoor children's playground and a dog park. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information about the center call (580) 369-4222 or visit Chickasaw Country's website at ChickasawCountry.com.
Chickasaw Visitor Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma
Located across the street from the Artesian Hotel, the Chickasaw Visitor Center is located at the northeast corner of Broadway and State Highway 7 in Sulphur. Opened in November 2013, the Chickasaw Visitor Center includes a lounge area, a gift shop and multi-media video room. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the center, call (580) 622-8050 or visit Chickasaw Country's website at ChickasawCountry.com.
About Exhibit C, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Exhibit C is Bricktown's newest art gallery and cultural experience. Exhibit C's art gallery displays works of several artists from the Chickasaw and southeastern tribes and continues the vision of raising awareness of the many cultural and entertainment experiences in Oklahoma set forth by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. Exhibit C is open daily from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. at 1 E. Sheridan, Bricktown. All items located in the Exhibit C art gallery and retail space are for purchase.
About Chickasaw Country
Chickasaw Country is a regional tourism organization representing 13 south-central Oklahoma counties. The marketing department lead by The Chickasaw Nation to blend tourism efforts in the region, Chickasaw Country represents festivals, events and attractions. A very diverse and cultural destination, Chickasaw Country has new adventures around every corner. In 2013, the U.S. Travel Association honored Chickasaw Country with a Destiny award in both the Best Travel Website and Best Use of Social Media Platform categories. The awards were given during the annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations conference.
About the Chickasaw Nation
With more than 50,000 citizens, the Chickasaw Nation is the 12th largest federally-recognized Indian tribe in the United States. The Chickasaw Nation had an economic impact of more than $2.4 billion in Oklahoma in 2011. The tribe is the seventh largest employer in Oklahoma, with almost 13,000 employees. A democratic republic with executive, legislative and judicial departments, the tribe's jurisdictional territory includes all or part of 13 counties in south central Oklahoma.