Start The Bus
June 15, 2023

Start The Bus

Rolling Rez Arts Talks Story with Kanaka Maoli Artists

Start the Bus!

Our mobile bus, which brings arts to your community, is a pop-up that fosters creative energy. Earlier this month, we resumed our Rolling Rez Arts workshops and hosted Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) artists, Tara Gumapac and Ikaika Bishop, both from Hawaii.

During Gumapac’s two-day workshops, attendees sipped tea provided by AUNTEAS, learned painting techniques and talk story with Gumapac. Being in Lakota Territory was Gumapac’s second visit, jointly made possible through First Peoples Fund, the Pa’i Foundation and Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI). As an artist, she makes sure to elevate the voices of her people because of how often Kanaka Maoli are misrepresented by the mainstream media.

By centering her people’s cultural narrative, Gumapac shared the significance of Lizard Woman or Freshwater Guardian to contextualize the role and power of feminine deities. “She’s one of those deities that I think a lot of people don’t talk about,” Gumapac said, adding that Lakota community members were also able to learn and paint their version of Lizard Woman on canvas.

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1. Lakota community members paint their versions of Lizard Woman, while also sipping tea from AUNTEAS and learning painting techniques from Tara Gumapac, a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) artist at the Oglala Lakota Artspace. 2. AUNTEAS, first Lakota owned, business of sisters, who grow, harvest, & create tea, provides context about their company during Rez Rolling Artist workshops at the Oglala Lakota Artspace.

Along with this cultural exchange, Gumapac traveled with her children and husband, Ikaika Bishop, who taught two additional workshops on anime creation using coding from MIT’s Scratch platform. Bishop is known for his creative work as a podcaster and digital media expert elevating the voices of those with disabilities. As a person considered legally blind, Bishop says creating animation is vital to reach all audiences.

Bishop told First Peoples Fund that he was inspired by the long sunsets across the prairies and found cross-cultural connections with his visit to South Dakota, including learning of the controversy of the Black Hills and the Dakota Access Pipeline.  

“To listen to the story of the people up there, I understand that there's still a lot of struggle going on for all of us and I'm happy to stand in solidarity with them,” Bishop said. “Hopefully, if we can get more of this media out there or advocate for tangible action, we can start to struggle a little less together.”

Bryan Parker (White Mountain Apache), FPF’s Program Manager for Rolling Rez Arts, said that the workshops held by Gumapac and Bishop showed how different mediums of storytelling can be told. As strong as oral storytelling is among Lakotas, it is also sharing with them visual techniques to reach different age groups and learning curves, he said.

Now that the Oglala Lakota Artspace (OLA) is now open to the public, Parker imagines more robust programming and the Rolling Rez Art (RRA) workshops, like those offered by Gumapac and Bishop, being an extension of the creative artspace. He says that OLA and RRA will focus on different mediums of art and skill levels of creativity.

“The bus really serves as a creative vehicle to point people in the direction to come to this arts space to build upon their skills and different things that we're teaching,” Parker said.

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