Oklahoma Contemporary

Media Release

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Honor Song Receives Major Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts

April 02, 2024


Contact: Communications team | 405 951 0000 | communications@okcontemp.org

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center is thrilled to announce that the upcoming exhibition featuring renowned artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds has received a $50,000 grant award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This generous support will enable Oklahoma Contemporary to bring this groundbreaking exhibition to fruition and share Heap of Birds' powerful work with a wider audience.

This landmark exhibition will be the first retrospective for Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation) in his state of residence, despite an impressive and lauded 40-year career. Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Honor Song traces the artist’s trajectory from the 1970s to the present through over 80 prints, drawings, paintings, glass sculptures, road signs, public art and site-specific installations, newly commissioned pieces and archival materials. Known for his thought-provoking and socially engaged art, Heap of Birds explores themes of Indigenous identity, colonialism and environmental justice.

"We are deeply grateful for the support from the National Endowment for the Arts for Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Honor Song," says Chief Development Officer Trent Riley. "Their commitment to advancing the arts and promoting dialogue around important social issues is invaluable. With their support, we can further amplify the voices of Indigenous artists like Edgar Heap of Birds and foster meaningful conversations within our community."

The exhibition will feature several key pieces from Heap of Birds' body of work. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with the art through guided tours, Artist Talks and educational programming designed to deepen their understanding of Heap of Birds' artistic vision and the themes explored in his work.

"We believe that art has the power to provoke reflection, inspire empathy and spark positive change," says Adjunct Curator Pablo Barrera. "Edgar Heap of Birds’ artwork remains an important part of the American cultural landscape, and supporting artists like Heap of Birds speaks to Oklahoma Contemporary’s mission to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts. We are excited to see how this exhibition will resonate with audiences and contribute to meaningful dialogue within the field."

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Honor Song is scheduled to open in February 2025 at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center and will be on view through July 2025. Admission to Oklahoma Contemporary is free to ensure accessibility for all members of the community.

For more information about the exhibition, including updates on programming and events, please visit oklahomacontemporary.org.

About Edgar Heap of Birds:

Edgar Heap of Birds (b. 1954, Wichita, Kansas) is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation, for which he serves as headsman of the Elk Warrior Society, instructing ceremonies on tribal lands near Geary, Oklahoma. He is a prolific artist known for his politically charged artworks that address issues of Indigenous identity, colonialism and environmental justice. His work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally and is held in numerous public and private collections.

About Oklahoma Contemporary:

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, formed at the Fairgrounds in 1989 as City Arts Center by Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers, is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the community with quality, accessible and affordable arts programming and education. Through corporate funding and private donations, Oklahoma Contemporary is able to educate Oklahomans through adult classes and workshops, art camps and classes for local youth, art exhibitions, lectures and additional educational programming. With a mission to encourage artistic expression in all its forms through education, exhibitions and performance, Oklahoma Contemporary is committed to instilling in the public a lifetime appreciation of the arts and enthusiasm for creative practice.


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Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405 951 0000
Fax: 405 951 0003

Oklahoma Contemporary
P.O. Box 3062
Oklahoma City, OK 73101

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