Yatika Starr Fields
Yatika Starr Fields, is a Painter and Muralist. While attending the Art Institute of Boston from 2000 to 2004, he became interested in Graffiti aesthetics, which has been integral to his knowledge and process along with Landscape painting- and continues to influence his large- scale projects and studio works. Fields is from Oklahoma and currently living and working in Tulsa in conjunction with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Fields has spent the last decade on the East Coast, New York City and most recently Seattle where the energy of urban life inspires and feeds the creative force in his artwork. He seeks to influence his viewers to rethink and reshape their relationships to the world around them.
His compositions are often spontaneous and left open for interpretation so that multiple stories can be drawn from them. His kaleidoscopic imagery, with its dynamic pop, symbolism and culture aesthetic, reference both historical and contemporary themes- tied together with traditional affinity but provoked by general concerns of world differences.
His canvasses and Murals are alive with movement and filled with images that rely on vibrant colors and swirling patterns to build narratives that carry the eye.
“I am motivated in my work fundamentally by the search for freedom in all forms. I seek to create a contemporary terrain in the juxtaposition of my living memories. Dissolving elements of space and time, I create a synthesis of symbolic forms and objects floating and bending on the canvas at all angles, negating the horizon and the rule of linear experience. The objects and forms represent the past and present from my perspective as a member of the Osage, Cherokee and Creek Nations of Oklahoma surrounded by beautiful colors and patterns joined by rhythm and dance from tradition. Fast paced cities and humble highways of the plains are defined by a historical layering of cultures, art, and creativity that I seek to portray. In the essence of painting, my process has journeyed from abstract to most recently focusing on representational, by removing what the eye perceives and knows and leaving what the body feels with hints of dialogue revealing truths and questions — sensation through color and movement — tied together with cultural affinity but provoked by general concerns of world differences. The creation mythology of this space is narrated in my work from inspirations of Culture, travels abroad and life in Boston, New York City the Pacific Northwest and now back in the state I was born, Oklahoma. Resulting in an explosion of current experience, In this suspended trichotomy between nature, urban experiences, and traditions, a new world is made.”
“My work begins swiftly and intuitively, as momentum shapes the composition on canvas. I challenge myself to integrate the physical environment around me with its unseen emotional life. Gradually the narrative of the piece is revealed. From here I work to detail the painting’s subject in nuances. My process focuses on fluidity of form and boldness of palatte, bringing the unseen alive in a way that will inspire in my audience a revelation of ideas, color, and form; reshaping their relationship to what they take for granted.” -Yatika Starr Fields
‘It’s a prayer’ - the harmony of ultra-running and painting
Tulsa Artist Fellow Yatika Fields on the harmony of ultra-running and painting
Mason Whitehorn Powell Sep 18, 2019 Updated Feb 21, 2020 0
On August 29, Osage/Cherokee/Creek artist Yatika Fields completed the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) TDS, a 145-kilometer (90-mile) trail race in the Alps with 9,100-meters of elevation change. The 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellow spoke with me from Leiden, Netherlands, where his mural at the Museum Volkenkunde, the National Museum of Ethnology, was in progress.
Mason Whitehorn Powell: Tell me about the race you just competed in.
Yatika Fields: That race was called "TDS" and it’s a part of UTMB, Ultra-Trail Mont-Blanc, an event that happens every year in Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy. There’s seven different races that happen throughout the whole week. It’s pretty much a week-long celebration of trail running—a global running summit—so you have runners and racers from all over the world coming over here to be in these races. … And to get into these races you have to qualify by getting points and each race has different points that you need to get in. So I’ve been in the United States the past couple of years doings these different races and they’re pretty hard. They’re usually 100K or 50-mile races, and you have to finish them, then you get the UTMB points and if you get enough you can put your name in the lottery. And then if you get selected in the lottery you can get in the race.
Last year, it was 70-miles and this year they extended TDS to be 90-miles with more climbing. The big race they have is UTMB, which is 120-miles, and they say TDS is harder than that race because of the technical terrain, it’s the more technical race of the two. And it was technical. It was really hard.
Powell: For those who don’t know, what defines an ‘ultra-runner’?
Fields: Being an ultra-runner is anything past 26.2 [miles]—marathon distance. So, 50Ks, 30-miles, 32-miles, 50-miles, 60—anything above that is an ultra-marathon technically—but when you get into the ultra-marathon lingo and around runners: 50-miles, 60-miles, 100-miles, that’s when you really become an ultra-runner.
Powell: With this race in particular, what was it like being on those trails in the mountains? How was that experience for you?
Fields: It was dreamlike. Because I had never been on those trails before. I had never seen them in my life. I had never been over those mountains in my life. I had never seen that landscape ever. You go pretty deep into these places. I mean, you cross a border. You cross from Italy into France. You see new kinds of rocks. New kinds of flowers. You hear different kinds of birds. You feel a different kind of air. You hear people at various checkpoints: Allez, allez, allez! Saying, ‘Go, go, go!’ in their own language. It’s not English, you rarely hear English. It’s very different.
We started at 4 a.m. in Courmayeur, Italy. We took off, there’s 1,700 runners, and I wanted to get up to the front because I didn’t want to get stuck in a bottleneck in the back. So we all take off and [I’m] running pretty fast for a couple of miles. I wanted to be in the top 100 at that point—and I was—hit the first climb and up at the top of a mountain, we all have headlamps on. You just go for it. And I looked back and I see a whole line, about a mile of people climbing in one line with headlamps. It was magical. And that’s when it just hit me, ‘Ok, this is TDS. This is the race you’ve been training for all year. This isn’t just a run. This is a race you’ve been training for. You’re in Italy. You’re doing it. You’re here.’ It was wild.
Then reality hits: ‘Oh shit, better get comfortable, because I’m gonna be here running and moving for the next 30 hours. This is what you’re training for, so pace yourself.’ I don’t know, you just say, ‘Here we go.’
Powell: Is that what it takes to complete—30 hours?
Fields: For me, yeah. I wanted to get sub-30 hours. I think the elites finish in 22 [hours], something like that.
Powell: Could you tell me about how running is related to your practice as a painter?
Fields: I’m still figuring it out, but I think it’s the same thing: It’s about being patient with results. It’s about being consistent to the devotion of the art—running is an art form; painting is an art form; your body is an art form; movement is an art form. These are all things that are both shared between the brush and the legs and the mind. Running is colorful; painting is colorful. Running is poetry; painting is poetry. I’ve found a really eloquent correlation between the two that’s kind of hard to describe almost, but it’s about movement.
Powell: En plein air [outdoor] paintings seem to be a big part of your practice. You do a lot of those while abroad, so could you talk about that?
Fields: Every time I come here, to Europe, I usually try to make paintings, and this is the first time I’m letting it all go out and showing it as well. I started landscape painting in 2000 with a professor from Oklahoma City University, Marty Averett, and then a group of seniors from OCU, but I was a high school senior at that time.
I came to Tuscany, Italy, to study landscape painting that summer. I was 19 and it really opened my eyes up to the way color works and how looking at landscapes and painting them can train your eyes and hand to work in a different way and capture essence. Ever since I’ve been 19 to now—I’m 38—I’ve been painting landscapes. I’ve been training my eyes and hands to just capture the essence of things and the beauty of landscapes—the changing colors and the shade, the moving sun, the moving clouds. I just try to capture essences of places and paint quickly.
The spirit of it, that’s what I try to capture. Because once I do that, then I train my eyes and hands to capture those things and I can go into the studio and carry that same force and that same familiarity and put it into my canvases that are stagnant, that are on the wall, but yet I still understand that movement.
So that’s what the landscape paintings are about. It’s about being somewhere beautiful. It’s about sitting there for an hour or two really listening to that place, hearing every sound, smelling every smell that’s in the air, hearing all the birds, hearing all the wind, and then putting that into a painting. It makes you really familiar with the location—like no other. And it’s really cool. It’s really cool to just sit somewhere and evaluate, and kind of put all your senses to the test, and just try to capture it, and that’s better than anything. For me, that’s the most exciting thing to do.
Powell: Tell me about some of the runs you’ve done on Indigenous lands.
Fields: Anytime I run in the United States, I’m running on Native land, Indigenous land. … As long as I’m in the States and running and feeling the earth, then things are good. Things are good in France, in Italy, with this race. Just, I think, because I carried the prayers and words from back home, and I thought about that often, so I had that with me and carried that with me. I carried cedar with me and decorated the sling on my back that holds the poles, the quiver case, with Osage ribbonwork and two scissortail feathers on it. So, I was carrying part of Oklahoma, part of who I am with me in the race, which made me strong and move well.
But running on Native land is beautiful. You think about everything that’s happened before you and under your feet. And you think of everything that’s also laid tracks down and a path for you to be here today. We’ve moved far. We’ve had to come over hardships as people from relocations with their own feet; people have died, people have cried. We’ve been challenged as a race, as a nation of people through of movement of our own legs and feet. With force. I think about these things: If it weren’t for them and their survival and resilience, I wouldn’t be here. This is the least I can do in honor of them. That’s what I think about when I run on United States land, and Native land.
It’s a prayer. I grew up in ceremonies. I grew up in a way where I look at running as something that’s an extension of that. Because I know I’m at an age right now where I can do it, but it’s not always going to be like it is right now and I’m aware of that. But for right now something fun is happening within me through running. And I’m to tell a story and share something unique through it, and that involves my art as well. I’m still figuring it all out, but I’m getting hints of what it’s about here and there. Maybe I’m not supposed to fully know what it is, but just kind of enjoy it and see the world through movement like I am.
Gallery Glance: “Yatika Starr Fields: Playing With Fire” at Travois
by Alice Thorson October 28, 2019
Opening Nov. 1 is “Playing with Fire,” an exhibit by Osage, Creek and Cherokee artist Yatika Starr Fields. Fields, a painter and muralist who trained at the Art Institute of Boston, is now based in Tulsa, where he received a Tulsa Artist Fellowship in 2017. His work was featured in the acclaimed 2018-19 exhibition, “Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Today,” at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Fields draws from nature, urban experiences (he has lived in New York City and Seattle) and the traditions of his people in works that have moved from abstraction to his own unique brand of representation incorporating vivid colors and swirling motion that encourage viewers to draw closer and consider his message.
“In the past few years it’s become more evident in my eyes, that global political actions are increasingly on the rise,” the artist has said. “Land, water, mineral, housing and many more obtrusions are taking away human rights as well as human dignity and acknowledgment.”
Fields’ Travois exhibit will include “America Realized,” a tangled mélange of broken and shredded objects and forms alluding to militarism, climate change, surveillance, incarceration and survival. A skull wearing an American flag headband surveys the destruction through a looping coil of barbed wire under a hovering drone. A shallow depth of field causes the brightly colored images to press up against the picture plane, heightening the sense of urgency.
The painting’s imagery includes colorful tents, which have served the artist as a potent metaphor since his 2017 “Tent Metaphor, Standing Rock” series, inspired by his participation in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
He explains, “From refugee camps, land occupation from pipelines to homeless encampments, tents have transcended the weekend leisure usage to a symbol of hope and economical degeneration — survival is first, fight to survive and bring change for the future.”
Activism meets optimism in Fields’ work, which he describes as a “search for freedom.”
Reception features Crow’s Shadow Artist-in-Residence Yatika Fields
Apr 4, 2019
PENDLETON — Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, 48004 Saint Andrew’s Road, selected Yatika Starr Fields as one of its national Artists-in-Residence in the 2019 season.
Fields will give an artist’s talk at a reception from 5-7 p.m. April 11 at the institute, culminating his two week residency.
Fields, of Osage, Cherokee and Creek heritage, is a painter known for his vibrant, large-scale murals saturated in pop-art colors along with graffiti style mark making. His painted canvases usually feature explosive all-over compositions, moving the viewer’s eye through swirling colors and dynamic patterns.
Often working at a large scale, his oil paintings range from pure abstraction, to images with abstract components interlaced with symbolic narrative elements, and into figurative representative painting.
In 2016, Fields joined the water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in North Dakota to protest the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline on sacred land. Many of his subsequent paintings have addressed the struggle and hope that permeates the complexities of Indigenous Survivance.
Fields was born in Tulsa, Okla., to parents who were practicing artists. His mother is a ceramicist and his father is a photographer. From an early age, Fields was exposed to a great deal of art. Fields attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at the University of Oklahoma, and went to Sienna, Italy, for a study abroad program for Landscape Painting.
In 2004 he earned a degree in painting at the Art Institute of Boston. In 2009-10 he was a fellowship recipient for the Urban Artist Initiative in New York City. He received a “Native Creative Development Grant” in 2015 from Evergreen State College, and in 2017 received a Tulsa Artist Fellowship in Tulsa, where he currently lives.
Fields has been developing limited-edition prints, hand-pulled by Crow’s Shadow’s collaborative Master Printer Judith Baumann. Most CSIA artists-in-residence create two images for editioning, typically completed in the following months.
Painting Outside the Museum Lines
November 15, 2018 Joe Randel With a new exhibit, Crystal Bridges and Visit Bentonville recognize public space as a critical canvas for creative expression.
Yatika Starr Fields, a contemporary artist of Osage, Cherokee and Creek descent, tends to do his best work at night.
As he created his multi-hued, large scale mural “Astonishment of Perception” in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, the city became his canvas and its unique history guided his brush.
Painted on the side of a law firm building that’s been in the community since the 1880s, the ambitious work centers on Lady Justice. But in Yatika’s rendition, she peers out from under her iconic blindfold, “seeing not the impartiality but injustices that exist today.”
Yatika’s mural is a towering work of contemporary art and a powerful statement on the too often overlooked role of indigenous artists in it.
The mural also is unique in its dual role as public art that also is officially included in a major museum exhibition — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s ambitious, “Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Now.”
Forecast Public Art, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, has been helping the museum and other groups in Northwest Arkansas seeking to prioritize public art and expand their reach.
"There’s a distinction between art in public and public art,” says Jack Becker, the organization’s founder.
“I can take a sculpture out of my studio and put it in a public space. It might have nothing to do with its surroundings. That’s art in public. Public art is specific to people and place; the context of the site should inform the content of the work. Good public art resonates and has meaning for audiences that know that place, and for those who don’t, it can provide an opportunity to learn."
Yatika’s work marks the inaugural effort by Crystal Bridges to extend the reach of its exhibitions into the community via public murals.
Through the work of Yatika, his mother Anita Fields (a sculptor whose work is included in the current exhibition and part of the museum’s permanent collection) and others, Crystal Bridges is increasing access both inside and outside the museum to American artists who are ancestrally a part of the land.
“We see this exhibition as a contribution to a much larger dialogue,” explains Mindy Besaw, the exhibit’s co-curator. “The stories of contemporary art are incomplete without these voices.”
And for Crystal Bridges, the medium—public spaces that bring art front and center in a community—is a critical component of the message. “More curators are starting to think about the public realm as a venue for creative expression,” Jack explains.
“They are helping museums transition from being exclusive to inclusive, and Crystal Bridges is a great example of that. They have invested with great intention in what a museum can be in a community.”
Kalene Griffith, president of Visit Bentonville, the city’s tourism agency, sees public art as a vital contribution to what the city can offer its visitors. “When Crystal Bridges was first built, folks would visit the museum and then get back on the road. We want to keep those visitors in Bentonville longer, and public art is key to the full experience.”
Murals and other public art installations can resonate in different ways with different audiences. But for community members and visitors alike, it can offer a deeper understanding of their collective experience.
“Yatika responds very specifically to the place,” says Mindy. “When he met the owner of the building, he was especially inspired by the history of the surface he was painting on. That’s how we got Justice peeking out from her blindfold. You always hope these little synergies happen. When they actually do, it’s so exciting.”
“People know the arts contribute to quality of life, economic vitality, cultural tourism, jobs for artists and fabricators,” says Jack. “They know that civic pride—while it sounds intangible—is a really valuable asset for any community to have.”
Garth Greenam Gallery Opens Exhbition of Yatika Staff Feilds in NYC
Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to announce Yatika Starr Fields: Fear Not, an exhibition of sculptures and paintings by Yatika Fields. Opening on Thursday, January 27, 2022, the exhibition is the artist's first at Garth Greenan Gallery.
Mingling oil and spray paint, Fields surveys urban and political landscapes, exploring their potent symbolism and metaphorical content. In one painting, an abstracted oil pump’s jack and drill bits churn through a murky green and black landscape. Working through personal and societal struggle, Fields created many of the works in Fear Not during the pandemic—with each mark on the canvas forming an attempt to commune and persevere with the collective through unprecedented times.
In each work, movement and color channel story and ceremony. In the Osage Shield series, for example, the artist reframes the Oklahoma flag’s symbolic grouping of the buffalo hide shield, peace pipe, and European olive branch as, at best, a self-protective fiction and, at worst, a deliberate attempt to obscure a darker reality. In one work of the series, the shield is converted from the flag’s flat abstraction into a three-dimensional orb, surreally hovering above the Oklahoma landscape. The original designer of Oklahoma’s flag expropriated the Osage shield—a sacred object used both in battle and spiritual practice—transforming it into a symbol of “defense of the state.” Even more perversely, the Oklahoma flag was wielded by one of the first to breach the Capitol on the sixth of January. Fields returns the expropriation, encircling the Osage peace pipe with a protective wrapping of barbed wire. The artist renders the pipe in vivid detail, restoring it to its traditional form. Oklahoma’s crepuscular landscape is dotted with the glittering lights of cars, trucks, homes, and businesses—reminders of the instrumental conversion of earth into property and resource. Power lines traverse the scenery, stretching between posts marking territorial expansion.
Personal and social struggle have long been integral to the artist’s practice. After joining the Water Protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, Fields increasingly centered the Indigenous history of hope and struggle in his work, particularly in his studio practice. In his 2017 series, Tent Metaphor Standing Rock, Field recovered tents after the infamous February 22, 2017 police raid on the protesters. The artist recombined the vivid tenting material—the mainstay of middle-class camping holidays that has become an icon of homelessness and protest movements—into traditional Indigenous patterns, anti-pipeline slogans, and into dynamic, compelling abstract compositions. As in his graffiti works, Fields blurs the line between abstraction and representation, creating stylistic compositions out of recognizable elements, and setting them against dynamic, swirling fields of color and twisting forms. The works blur the boundaries between political polemic and abstraction, between distress, resistance and hope.
Born in 1980 in Tulsa, Yatika Starr Fields is a member of the Cherokee, Mvskoke (Creek), and Osage Nations. Fields studied landscape painting at the University of Oklahoma’s Sienna, Italy summer program before enrolling at the Art Institute of Boston from 2001 to 2004. While living on the East Coast, Fields developed a keen interest in street art. His dynamic, vibrant graffiti works quickly attracted attention, generating public and private mural commissions in Portland, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Bentonville and Siloam Springs, and Urique, CHIH, Mexico.
Fields has participated in more than 40 solo and group exhibitions at venues across the United States and Europe, including: the Southern Plains Indian Museum (2008, Anadarko, Oklahoma); Chiaroscuro Contemporary (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, Santa Fe); BlueRain Gallery (2015, 2016, 2018, Santa Fe); Peabody Essex Museum, (2015–2016, Salem, MA); Rainmaker Gallery (2017, Bristol, UK); the Grand Palais (2018, Paris); Philbrook Museum of Art (2018, Tulsa); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, 2019); and the Gilcrease Museum, (2019, Tulsa).
Fields’s paintings are featured in private collections and the collections of museums across the country, including: Heard Museum (Phoenix); Hood Museum (Dartmouth College); Oklahoma State Museum of Art; Peabody Essex Museum; and Sam Noble Museum (University of Oklahoma, Norman).
Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to represent Yatika Starr Fields.
Mural artist focuses on rhythm, place
By Grant D. Crawford firstname.lastname@example.org Nov 15, 2017
Yatika Starr Fields grew up with a sculptor for a mother and a photographer for a father, so it is understandable he found his niche in the world of art.
Fields, a mural and studio artist, let a group at the Northeastern State University Center into his world during a presentation for the Indigenous Arts Education Series on Tuesday. The presentation highlighted his work and experience as a mural artist, providing attendees with an inside look to the specialized field of mural art.
Fields has created murals all over the world, but likes to consider himself more of a studio artist nowadays. Still, whether it is his oil painting or massive murals, Fields has no shortage of inspiration.
Born in Tulsa, Fields is of the Cherokee, Creek and Osage tribes, and is a member of the Bear Clan. At a young age, he was initiated into the Osage I'n-Lon-Schka dance society. There, he learned more than just how to dance.
"When you dance, it's always about movement and rhythm," he said. "This is something that's always been a part of my life. As any Native person knows who dances or participates in ceremonies, they understand that feeling of rhythm and place and movement."
That usage of movement and "swiftness" has since carried into his work, allowing it to flow from one end of the canvas to the other.
Growing up in Tahlequah, Fields spent a lot of time at the Illinois River, and some of his earliest memories were of the vast landscapes that can be found in northeastern Oklahoma.
"Landscapes are really important to me," Fields said. "I think they're important for all of us, as to where we come from in life. It still plays a role today into my usage of organic forms and using nature-oriented imagery. And I think that's from my early, early days in upbringing here in Tahlequah and on the river."
His interest in mural painting was likely influenced by the street art he created when he moved to New York in 2000. Either way, Fields did say the graffiti he painted helped him become a better artist overall.
"I had a good time doing it," he said. "I got in a lot of trouble doing it, and I realized I don't have the luck to be a good graffiti artist. I'm glad I did it, though. It was a good experience, knowing how to work quickly on the street and just using spray paint. I understood full body movement and how to paint quickly and be bold. That's something that's also carried into my studio work now."
Sara Barnett, director of the Center for Tribal Studies, said NSU tries to invite different tribes and styles for the Indigenous Arts Education Series. Two November presenters even touched on a bit of the same subject.
"I thought what was interesting was the common theme between [Fields'] presentation and Marcus Harjo's presentation, in regard to how Standing Rock inspired them to go a different direction, or to produce something as a result of their experience," Barnett said. "I really enjoyed his presentation and just seeing his artwork. I'm really amazed at the work, the intricacies and the detail he puts into even these large projects."
Fields' paintings generally take two to three weeks to create. He prefers a blank canvas when he begins, rather than drawing a sketch. He said there is no real blueprint for his paintings, and the result is typically a mesh between what his intentions were with what he was feeling in the moment.
"I just see something and I'll add it, I see something and I'll add it," he said. "I don't hesitate to put what I think it needs, and I'll know it's finished when it just feels good."
The last session of the Indigenous Arts Education Series is in April, when the Center for Tribal Studies hosts a powwow dance, where people can attend to learn about the different styles of Native dance, and how the art form came to be what it is today.
Osage-Creek artist paints mural in downtown Okmulgee in conjunction with OrangeFest
Painting is in conjunction with OrangeFest
By MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer Apr 9, 2015 Updated Feb 13, 2019
OKMULGEE — In the eyes of Yatika Starr Fields, the east-facing wall on the old Western Union building in downtown Okmulgee waited nearly 100 years to fulfill its true purpose.
“This mural, I think it was supposed to happen,” Fields said. “This wall knew this mural was going to be here. It was destiny.”
Fields, a Stillwater native who is of Osage and Creek descent, is painting a mural on the building, located at the corner of Seventh Street and Morton Avenue.
The Muscogee Nation Cultural Center and Archives Department commissioned the mural, which incorporates the essence and history of Okmulgee while paying homage to Muscogee (Creek) culture through imagery such as ceremonial fire, stickball and ribbon dresses.
Fields began work on the mural Monday and will continue through Saturday.
“I’ve taken aspects that have moved our culture in positive ways,” Fields said. “These symbols carry all the elements in harmony.
“The mural is about continuing the things that have carried us and moving into the future. I want people to be proud of their culture, and this is a good way to do that visually.”
Chris Azbell, special projects manager with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Museum and Cultural Center, said the project fits both with the cultural center’s mission of education and promoting the arts and the revitalization of downtown Okmulgee.
“We want to bring an artistic approach to revitalizing downtown,” Azbell said. “This town died when the industries left, but we won’t bring the town back by bringing back the industries. You have to reinvent yourself. We want to bring in tourism, arts, culture and education.”
The mural is in conjunction with OrangeFest, a two-day community celebration hosted by the Main Street Association and Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.
On Friday the festival will be centered on downtown, and Saturday the action will be on the OSUIT campus.
Traditionally a one-day event, the festival this year features a first-time partnership between the college and main street organizations as they all focus on expanding city revitalization efforts.
“We’re really trying to encourage people to support the community as a university town, and what better way to do that than by doing a two-day festival that brings all that together,” said Heather Sumner, director of Okmulgee Main Street.
Anita Gordy-Watkins, OSU Institute of Technology’s executive vice president, said the outpouring of support and collaboration from the community is amazing.
“OrangeFest has really allowed the OSUIT campus, the Okmulgee community and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to come together like never before and really synergize to bring the event to a new level,” she said. “There’s an excitement and eagerness surrounding this year’s OrangeFest that’s unprecedented, and the mural is a big part of defining this collaborative spirit on Friday night.”
The People. The Land. The Art.
“It’s crucial that the right information, dialogue and the right paths are being made to create journeys for everyone to walk into. It’s never-ending, but I think we are on the right path.” Yatika Starr Fields OCTOBER 14, 2019
Anita: A suppression of our history has always been here, so I think it’s really important that people understand, you know, and because they, you know, that’s a safe place to be able to look at a lot of things that are difficult to talk about is the arts, so it’s really important that, yes, that these shows, these exhibits come and people are able to understand who we are. I’m Anita Fields. I was born in Hominy, Oklahoma and I’m Osage and Creek. I’m in my third year of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.
Yatika: My name is Yatika Starr Fields. I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’m Osage, Cherokee and Creek and I’m in my third year at the Tulsa Arts Fellowship. This, this painting came about through a collaboration with the Gilcrease Museum and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship and it was about going into the collections and looking at pieces that inspire you, or proposing a project where you could work with the collections here and my proposal would be to work with something that I’m familiar with and the familiarity of the Native American Church and the ceremonies of the Osage people something that I’m familiar with and grew up with. For me being an artist. I have the ability to bring those things out again, if I seek to do so and in the proposal that was just it. I wanted to go and look at these items that have those memories, make sketches, take photos of them and then come back to the studio and with my knowledge and understanding of the movement and possessions that they carry, I can convey them back into another atmosphere and another place in time, today, in contemporary times, and give them new life and that is something that I can do. That’s the best I can do for these objects and I think they do appreciate it.
Anita: I’m very glad that, you know, I can sit here before this painting that he has done based on, actually just based on his experiences as an Osage person growing up. I was here a few weeks ago doing a tour and, you know, it dawned on me that there’s not much of a difference between the information that Woody Crumbo was providing for people concerning Native American culture, specifically the Native American Church, then Yatika making this expression.
Yatika: You know, as I got older, I was able to really appreciate what was in here, you know, like all the Native American Church paintings that are in here to the classical paintings, the Thomas Moran landscapes and everything like that. So, I’m a student of art, you know, and indigenous art, non-indigenous, classical, European, everything and you know there’s all that here and Gilcrease stands out to be one of my favorite museums in Oklahoma because of that, because there’s an appreciation of culture. I think that stands out more so than any other place within it.
Anita: You know when you, when you just talk about history here in Oklahoma, I mean I can remember a time when my kids were in school, like the first page of a curriculum would almost be something like “once upon a time there were Indians here” you know, or something like that so there is, you know, a suppression of our history has always has always been here, so I think it’s really important that people understand, you know, and because they, you know, that’s a safe place to be able to look at a lot of things that are difficult to talk about is the arts, so it’s really important that yes, that these shows, these exhibits come and people are able to understand who we are.
Yatika: As I get older you know someone else is gonna rise to the occasion that maybe has been influenced by my words as these entry points to do the same, and it’s just a continual cycle that I was taught from my mom and dad, you know, and so I’m doing it, but yet it will keep on happening and, just like that and museums and institutions and scholars and curators, the older ones will cycle out and new ones will come in and these conversations will keep on growing. So, at point as I matured with my art, I saw that this is a kind of a mission that I wanna be a part of in my art and dialogue.
Anita: That if you live, you know, in the United States of America, our history is the history here, and so for it to be put on the back burner all of these years or to act like it was, you know, it was not important enough, you know, to be shown or to think of it is just artifacts or to think of it in terms of really I don’t have any other better word but it wasn’t important enough, you know, which just really revealed how people thought about us. So, I think that it’s really exciting, you know, today that it is starting to get the recognition that it has long needed.
Yatika: This is Indian land, but it’s now a land where everyone is here, you know, and we have to look at the past and, and kind of move forward from that. But, in a way that everyone can heal, almost, especially the native people, and I think art and institutions like this are main places where that happens. So, it’s crucial that the right information and dialogue and the right paths are being made to create those journeys for everyone to walk into. So, it’s never ending but I think we’re on the right path with that.
Yatika Starr Fields Completes Mural for Pickens Museum at NOC
Artist WebSite and Artist Statement
Articles about Yatika Starr Fields
- ‘It’s a prayer’:Tulsa Artist Fellow Yatika Fields on the harmony of ultra-running and painting by Mason Whitehorn Powell. Tulsa People. September 18, 2020.
- Gallery Glance: “Yatika Starr Fields: Playing With Fire” at Travois
- Reception features Crow’s Shadow Artist-in-Residence Yatika Fields
- Mural artist focuses on rhythm, place
- Osage-Creek artist paints mural in downtown Okmulgee in conjunction with OrangeFest
About Pickens Museum
Location and Hours of Operation
Artists at Pickens Museum
- J. Chester Armstrong
- Bryant Baker
- Jolene Bird
- Robin Bray
- Barbara Chase Riboud
- Sergey Chernomorets
- Charles Cordier
- Jo Davidson
- Andrew Scott DeJesse
- Donald De Lue
- Roger Disney
- Yatika Starr Fields
- Espi Frazier
- John Dale Free
- John Free, Jr.
- Paul Gauguin
- Mitch Gyson
- Jeff Ham
- Robert Hardee
- Hugh Harrell Jr.
- K. Henderson
- Bri Hermanson
- Skip Hill
- Malvina Hoffman
- Allan Houser
- Patrick Dean Hubbell
- Oreland Joe
- Malvin Gray Johnson
- Rockwell Kent
- William Kilpatrick
- Tom Lea
- Becky Mannschreck
- John Manship
- Paul Manship
- Raoul Middleman
- Woodrow Nash
- Ed Natiya
- Clyde Otipoby
- Gene Pearson
- Pablo Picasso
- Daniel Pickens
- Erika Pochybova
- Charles Pratt
- Bill Rabbit
- Traci Rabbit
- Tanya Rafael
- Richard Recchia
- Faith Ringgold
- Josué Sánchez
- Fritz Scholder
- Stephen Schwark
- Isaac Shari
- Ralph Steadman
- Scott Storm
- Albert Wein
- C J Wells
Articles about Pickens Museum
- Pickens Learning Commons Opens at NOC Tonkawa
- Pickens Museum Acquires "War Club" by Yatika Starr Fields January 20, 2022
- Pickens Museum/NOC Mural Dedication Set for June 16th
- Yatika Starr Fields Completes Mural for Pickens Museum May 12, 2021
- Pickens Museum and NOC Announce Mural by Osage Artist Yatika Starr Fields May 5, 2021
- Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp (Counting Coup) by John Free March 29, 2021
- Pickens Museum Displays Route 66 Murals by Robert Hardee March 29, 2021
- Pickens Museum Opens Exhibit of Sculpture by Donald De Lue at NOC March 24, 2021
- Pickens Museum partners with NOC February 23, 2021
- Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman February 21, 2020
- Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Faith Ringgold February 21, 2020
- Exhibition: "Winter in New York" January 22, 2020
- The Turquoise Guitar by Jolene Bird November 26, 2018
- World's Largest Naja August 29, 2018
- A 1949 Hudson Limousine August 29, 2018
- Meet the Museum Design Team May 21, 2018
- A Ponca City Mystery April 5, 2018
- Tonya Rafael Visits Ponca City February 2018
2015 and before
- Sculptor Bryant Baker's Lost Masterpiece November 3, 2015
- Pioneer Woman Models Come Home February 26, 2010
- Pioneer Woman Models Should Return to Ponca City July 13, 2007
About Pickens Museum