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January 05 2020

Donald Ellis Gallery Loans Ledger Art to Drawing Centre

Native American Art Magazine

An article in the Native American Art Magazine reviews the exhibition The Pencil is Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists, on view at the Drawing Center in New York until January 5, 2020. The exhibition contains several ledger drawings by Native American warrior artists including Ho Na Nist To (Howling Wolf) and Koba (Wild Horse)

Aniko Erdosi of Donald Ellis Gallery in New York comments, 'the exhibition examines the art of past and contemporary artists throughout the world who have experienced incarceration or who developed as artists while incarcerated. Donald Ellis Gallery is the proud lender of a group of important ledger drawings produced by Native Americans while imprisoned at Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida, from 1875 to 1878.'

Originally, Plains pictographic art was recorded on buffalo hides. After contact with Euro-Americans, drawing on lined accounting paper, which was itself obtained from Euro-Americans, became an expression of a warrior's prowess. In 1875, a number of chiefs and warriors from several tribes were arrested by the federal government. Incarcerated at Fort Marion in Florida, a number of these prisoners were encouraged to draw scenes from their lives on the open Plains. As the article discusses, “Bear’s Heart (Nokkoist, 1851-1882) sold one his drawings to a U.S. senator who had traveled to Fort Marion.” The drawing is now on view at the drawing centre, one of 140 important artists from around the globe including Gustave Courbet and Ruth Asawa. 

Read the Original Article

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Donald Ellis Gallery Loans Ledger Art to Drawing Centre