Whitney Biennial 2022: Dyani Whitehawk

May 20, 2022

Dyani White Hawk is a Minneapolis–based painter, whose art draws from the history of Lakota abstraction in beadwork, painting, and quill work, a traditional form of embroidery using porcupine quills. She also situates her practice in dialogue with that of abstract painters such as Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock, who claimed Indigenous art as an influence. White Hawk made Wopila | Lineage by affixing loomed strips of thin glass bugle beads onto aluminum panels. As she has stated: 

“Using glass beads references the history of cross-cultural trade relationships that have influenced the evolution of art forms over generations. The work is uniquely Lakota, tied to a lineage of artwork that speaks to connections between land and life. The title, Wopila | Lineage, expresses deep gratitude for the interwoven network of ancestral and living communities that make the work possible. I believe beauty is medicinal. The work, as an offering of beauty, is a gift of reciprocity. Simultaneously, the work presents critical dialogue that aims to shift collective narratives toward truthful reflections of the complex history of this land base.”