Native American museum hosts summer exhibit

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Belinda Bullshoe poses for a photo while a sampling of her designs blow in the wind at the Northwest Montana Fair in 2017. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

The Museum of the Plains Indian announces the opening of a special summer art exhibit, “Summer Showcase,” featuring Don Charbonneau, Duane Slick and Belinda Bullshoe. The exhibition will run from June 1 to July 28. On Friday, June 1 there will be an opening reception from 3-4:30 p.m.

Don Charbonneau, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, is a skilled artist who works in a variety of media. Raised in Washington state, he discovered his love of art at an early age. For the last 40 years, Charbonneau has utilized and refined his talent by painting a variety of surfaces from buildings to watercraft. He is well known in the commercial art and sign industry and his work can be seen from Alaska to Alabama.

Charbonneau is currently pursuing more traditional forms of art while incorporating techniques and materials from the commercial art industry. Many of his new pieces reveal his Blackfeet heritage and reflect traditional values and customs. Charbonneau’s work frequently includes images of horses, buffalo and human forms. His use of contemporary methods to paint these figures enhances their dramatic effect and provides a distinctive point of view.

Charbonneau has been featured as the Blackfeet Honored Artist of the Month at the Blackfeet Heritage Center and was the designer of the Montana State License plate honoring the Blackfeet Nation.

Duane Slick, a member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, is a talented painter and printmaker. Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Slick earned his BFA in painting from the University of Northern Iowa and his MFA in painting from the University of California, Davis. Currently, he is a Professor of Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island.

He began teaching painting and printmaking at the university in 1995 and has also lectured at colleges and universities across the U.S. and taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1992-95.

His studio practice includes painting, printmaking, artist books and storytelling. His visual work blends oral and visual Native American traditions, focusing on trickster strategies and woodland nations patterning. His work has been exhibited widely — most recently at the Albert Merola Gallery in Provincetown, MA, and at RK Projects in New York City — and is included in the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis and the De Cordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, among many others. Slick is currently represented by the Albert Merola Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Belinda Bullshoe, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, is a fashion designer and textile artist. She began creating clothing in 2013 — first crafting a scarf followed by a carseat cover. She dedicated her first dress to her grandmother, Mary Morgan, a well-known artist and seamstress herself. Bullshoe learned to sew under the tutelage of her grandmother, whose skill level was such that she was able to create clothing without the need of a tape measure. When creating a new design, Bullshoe works spontaneously, without the use of preparatory sketches or drawings. She draws inspiration for her designs from Blackfeet culture and feels honored to share this rich tradition with the world.

In February 2017, Bullshoe was the first Native American designer to open a major fashion show in New York City. Her designs were also featured in Paris Fashion Week in September 2017. Bullshoe’s clothing has been showcased in 26 fashions shows to date.

The Museum of the Plains Indian is managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board.

For admission fees and hours of operation, please call the Museum of the Plains Indian at 338-2230.

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