Erb to be part of First Fridays art series in Kansas City

08/28/2018 02:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Joseph Erb has been selected as one of nine professional artists to be part of the Travois First Fridays visual art exhibition series in Kansas City, Missouri. This piece is called “Deer in Water.” COURTESY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Cherokee Nation citizen Joseph Erb has been selected as one of nine professional artists to be part of the Travois First Fridays visual art exhibition series.

Erb’s work will be shown on Sept. 7 at the Travois office in the Crossroads Art District, which is located at 310 W. 19th Terrace.

Erb’s exhibition is called “???? ???? (Long Men): the native streams and rivers of the land.”

The computer animator, film producer, educator, language technologist and artist said the purpse of his research and creative production “is to advance the Cherokee culture and language.”

“Social justice and activism is the base philosophy of my interdisciplinary work,” he said. “Indigenous people face some of the worst disparities in the country in education, health and environmental safety. Art, music and cultural expression have always been positive ways that Indigenous people have persevered. However, Indigenous art has been stereotyped, commodified, and at times stolen from the first communities in which they were born. I believe my role is to provide creative venues for my community members to take back ownership of their stories and express them in ways that are meaningful to them. This includes sharing stories in new ways so that children and grandchildren can have access to them in the future.”

Erb holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Oklahoma City University and a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an assistant professor in the digital storytelling program and Department of Art at the University of Missouri. He works in the fields of 2-D and 3-D animation; digital storytelling; fine art — painting, metal and textiles; Native American and Indigenous studies; Cherokee language technology and Cherokee studies.

Erb’s Travois First Fridays exhibition will explore themes concerning the intersection between culture and water and celebrating the stories and struggles of the water, and will feature three sets of sculptural works, hung or mounted and digital animation shown in three short movies.

“All proceeds will be donated to Nibi (Water) Walks general funds,” Erb said. “The Nibi (Water) Walks are Indigenous-led, extended ceremonies to pray for the water. Every step in the ceremony is taken in prayer and gratitude for water; water is our life-giving force.”


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