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Edgar Heap of Birds

Edgar Heap of Birds \ Tribal Lives Matter, 2020

A black and white artwork card with the text 'Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds' and 'Artwork' on it.

The decolonial struggles of Indigenous people around the world are interconnected by their shared histories of oppression, land dispossession, and cultural erasure. Palestine represents one of the ongoing decolonization conflicts, rooted in a prolonged struggle against occupation and displacement. The shared experience of fighting for the right to exist on ancestral lands, preserve cultural heritage, and attain political autonomy fosters profound solidarity among Indigenous and other oppressed groups, uniting them in a common narrative of resistance and resilience against colonial legacies.

Edgar Heap of Birds, part of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations, embodies this struggle through his art. Throughout his career, he has brought visibility and justice to the colonial crimes against his people imparted by the settler-colonial project of England and the United States.

In 2020, during the Covid pandemic lockdown and in the midst of Trump’s presidency, the Black Lives Matter movement erupted across the United States. Inflamed by the murder of George Floyd - the movement stepped up against the systematic normalization of police brutality against African Americans across the country. The title is a tribute and gesture of solidarity between the oppressed populations of the United States whose decades-long necropolitical regime is based on racist and discriminatory policies from its founding to today. The themes in "Tribal Lives Matter" resonate deeply with the Palestinian struggle, the condition of apartheid, and systematic political historical erasure and dispossession. This work reveals the ongoing colonial tactics that have been applied at different points in history to various global territories in order to control, settle, and claim indigenous land.

The monotype print installation chronicles numerous violent events towards the indigenous tribal communities in the US. These locations are all places of death and massacres at the hands of European colonial invaders. The events remain largely unknown and unacknowledged, the perpetrators hold no accountability and harm goes without repair. Like protest signs against a general amnesia, they only scratch the surface of the violent history of dispossession, death, and land theft from the diverse tribal nations that once spread across the landmass that today forms the basis of the United States of America.

A large artwork composed of multiple tiles with words written in various shades of red and orange, addressing historical injustices against Indigenous peoples.

24 primary prints and 24 ghost prints. Each print is 22x30.

Artist Edgar Heap of Birds standing beside his artwork, which consists of multiple red and orange tiles with text highlighting historical injustices against Indigenous peoples.
A large artwork composed of 24 ghost prints with words written in various shades of red and orange, addressing historical injustices against Indigenous peoples.
Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne name: Hock E Aye Vi) is a multi-disciplinary artist known for his public art messages, large-scale drawings, Neuf Series acrylic paintings, prints, and monumental porcelain enamel on steel outdoor sculptures. He is Southern Cheyenne and enrolled in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.Heap of Birds earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Kansas in 1976 and his Master of Fine Arts from Temple University's Tyler School of Art in 1979. He also attended the Royal College of Art in London from 1976-1977. In 2008, he received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.Additionally, Heap of Birds was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts in 2018. He served on the board for MoMA PS1.
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Leila Antakly15 days ago
Incredible work
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