HACHIVI EDGAR HEAP OF BIRDS is a Cheyenne/Arapaho Indian who currently is on the faculty of Oklahoma University with a joint appointment in Native Studies and the Art Department. He has shown his art throughout the world and created numerous site-specific projects. His public projects have tended to draw attention to living native culture and the impact of history on the contemporary relationships between native and mainstream cultures. These works frequently make use of native symbols combined with the form and language of today’s public culture – signage, billboards, buses, etc
In the past decade HEAP OF BIRDS has traveled around the world conducting research into the similarities of icons used by indigenous peoples in Australia, Africa, North and South America and Europe. He has continued to explore the relationships between his country’s living native cultures, contemporary society, history, and indigenous cultures from other continents. During this quest, he participated in residency programmes in a variety of venues, including a local library in Providence with a strong Cape Verdian community and at the Chariho School near the Narragansett Indian Reservation of Richmond, Rhode Island. While in Cape Town for his show at the AVA, HEAP OF BIRDS took part in a residency at the Greatmore Artists’ Studios in Woodstock where he held a small showing of some of his earlier works referencing billboards and signs in the USA.
The exhibition in the main gallery, entitled "EAGLES SPEAK" ‘Honouring the Unity of Eagles from Southern Africa and North America’, is a collaborative exhibition which was formulated during a residency at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The participating artists are THEMBINKOSI GONIWE (a Michaelis School of Art, UCT, Masters graduate currently studying at Cornell University, New York), CYNTHIA ROSS-MEEKS, TALL OAK and EDGAR HEAP OF BIRDS.
"EAGLES SPEAK" refers to the Cheyenne understanding of the role of this bird as a messenger and leader. The show deals with the personal and political cross-cultural communication of the symbolic eagles of North America and Southern Africa. This visual discussion is facilitated via Native American, Afro American and South African artists. The theme will present a metaphorical experience of Eagles from Southern Africa and North America engaged in a political, personal and tribal conversation through the visual arts. Both TALL OAK and CYNTHIA ROSS-MEEKS are Native American artists from Rhode Island. GONIWE shall author a new work from a Southern African indigenous perspective.
In the long gallery HEAP OF BIRDS will have a survey/overview of his complete print works. This show will include the "Neuf" series lithographs that relate to his paintings. Also on exhibit will be a selection of serigraphs that are text-based and often focused on political American themes. In total there will be 12 to 15 prints on view.
Upstairs there will be an exhibition of drawings of school children from the Providence, Rhodes Island community. During HEAP OF BIRDS residency at the RISD Museum earlier in 2002, he worked on drawing projects with elementary school age artists who dealt with the "Eagles Speak" theme via coloured pencil drawings. These will be included in the show.
A thirty-minute video on the "EAGLES SPEAK" experience will be shown during the exhibition.
Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds