Oklahoma Contemporary
Installation view, Ghazal Ghazi
Two large canvases with portraits and Farsi writing hang behind a pedestal holding a ceramic bowl with dried flowers

Destination Oklahoma

Destination Oklahoma

Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery
July 14 – Oct. 17, 2022

A painting of a child with dark skin in a pale blue hat and button-up shirt sits behind a globe. The background says "NO CROSSING" vertically and the words "My children, My children, Here it is, I hand it to you The earth The earth" are in red.
America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), God Gives the World to Arapaho Children

Featuring more than a dozen contemporary artworks, Destination Oklahoma illuminates the distinct cultural backgrounds that coexist at this crossroads of the country. The exhibition, which includes ceramics, mixed media, paintings, photographs, prints and video from five artists living across Oklahoma, engages questions of cultural hybridity that converge in the state.

Photographs by September Dawn Bottoms suggest the complicated nature of intergenerational resilience, while drawings by Ghazal Ghazi co-mingle the Persian miniature format with contemporary portraiture. Paintings by Skip Hill reimagine symbolic imagery related to the Dust Bowl era, and paintings by America Meredith playfully mix pop culture references with historical illustrations of Indigenous subjects. Prints by Đan Lynh Phạm blend graphic language with Vietnamese folk art traditions to evoke the sense of connection — or disconnection — felt by some immigrants to the state.

Together, the artworks in Destination Oklahoma express the beauty and charge of cultural connection, reflecting on the patterns of migration that have long shaped life in the state.

Destination Oklahoma is a collaboration between Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center and guest co-curator Liz Blood, a Tulsa-based writer, 2019-22 Tulsa Artist Fellow and 2022 guest editor of Art Focus magazine.


This exhibition is supported by Heartland, Ad Astra Foundation, Annie Bohanon, The Chickasaw Nation, Cox, Rand and Jeanette Elliott, The E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, Leslie and Cliff Hudson, The Kanady Family, Oklahoma Arts Council, George Records, Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum, and Velocigo.


About the Artists

September Dawn Bottoms was born and raised in Paden, Okla. Her photographs involve archival family photos, records of personal objects and portraits exploring intergenerational trauma. Bottoms’ work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair and The Guardian. In 2020, Bottoms was selected for a fellowship by the New York Times, to which she contributes images on women’s and social issues.

Ghazal Ghazi was born in Tehran, Iran, and is based in Tulsa. Through painted tapestries featuring monumental versions of Persian miniatures, her work engages questions of collective memory and cultural displacement. Ghazi has a B.A. from the University of Arizona. She was a semifinalist in the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, and this year she was an Artist in Residence at Salina Art Center.

Skip Hill was born in North Padre Island, Texas, and is based in Tulsa. Hill’s drawings, paintings and murals incorporate details sourced from art historical canon, folk art, tattoo culture, Asian calligraphy, Dutch wax prints and West African sculpture. Hill holds a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma. Hill’s artwork has been featured on CNN and Black Entertainment Television. His paintings are part of the State Capitol’s Betty Price Gallery Oklahoma State Art Collection.

America Meredith is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is based in Norman. Her paintings combine Native American and pop culture imagery to approach social and environmental issues with humor. Meredith earned a B.F.A from the University of Oklahoma and holds an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work was part of the 2019 exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and presented at the Frist Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery and the Philbrook Museum of Art. Meredith was a 2009 Artist Fellow of the National Museum of the American Indian and is editor of First American Art Magazine.

Dan Lynh Pham was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and is based in Tulsa. Pham’s prints and drawings examine identity, socialization and the construction of culture — specifically of Asian American women living in the Midwest. She holds a B.F.A from Oklahoma State University. Pham operates Still Mill store in Tulsa and is a contributing artist for the Đùm Bọc Foundation’s 2022 Câylendar Initiative, featuring 12 Vietnamese diaspora illustrators and artists.

Images:

Ghazal Ghazi, Migratory Bird, 2021. Oil paint and thread on canvas. 84 x 84 in.

Ghazal Ghazi, Baba/Father, 2022. Stoneware with dried rose petals.

Ghazal Ghazi, Monumental Redactions: Ali’s Return to America from the Middle East Four Months after 9/11, 2022. Oil paint, watercolor, embroidery floss, and pencil on linen. 84 x 67 in.

America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), God Gives the World to Arapaho Children, 2004. Acrylic paint and mica on found steel panel. 36 x 16 in. Courtesy of Mary Ellen Meredith.

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Oklahoma Contemporary
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