"Speak: Speak While You Can" at Living Arts of Tulsa

Sep 3, 2020

On this edition of ST, we learn about a multi-artist, multi-media exhibition opening soon at Living Arts of Tulsa called "Speak: Speak While You Can." The show gathers works by several outstanding Native American artists, all of the creations focused on various indigenous/tribal langauges. Our guests are the co-curators of this show, both of them noted Native artists in their own right: Tony A. Tiger (Sac & Fox/Seminole/Muscogee) and Bobby C. Martin (Muscogee/Creek). As noted of this show in the Curators' Statement at the Living Arts website: "The beating heart of any culture is its spoken language. If the language disappears, the culture perishes. Among indigenous cultures and peoples in Indian Country -- formerly Indian Territory, now Oklahoma -- this truth hits too close to home for many. And yet the resilience of our peoples -- once forcibly removed from homelands and punished or shamed for speaking our native languages -- has led to a renaissance of language revitalization and preservation efforts.... The works in this exhibition make clear that our languages are still -- and will always be -- an integral part of our identity as Native peoples. Equally important is the reality that time is not on our side -- fluent tribal speakers are passing on, and the race is on to ensure the survival of these heart languages for future generations."