Norman Akers

Associate Professor of Painting
Director of Art Graduate Studies
Primary office:
785-864-3231
Art and Design Building, room 506


Professor Akers explores issues of identity and culture, including Osage mythos, place, and the dynamics of personal and cultural transformation as a Native American artist. Over the years he has used a visual vocabulary consisting of images and symbols drawn from his cultural heritage, personal life experiences, and contemporary culture.

Akers was born and raised in Fairfax, Oklahoma. He is a member of the Osage Nation. He received a BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1982, and a Certificate in Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1983. In 1991, he received a MFA in Fine Arts from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Akers had solo exhibitions at the Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, Kansas, Jan Cicero Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, and the Gardner Art Gallery, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including, Unlimited BoundariesThe Dichotomy of Place in Contemporary Native American ArtAlbuquerque MuseumAlbuquerque, New MexicoWho Stole the Tee Pee?, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Museum, New York, New York, and Pathology of Symbols, I Space, Chicago, Illinois.

His paintings are in several collections including the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Rockwell Museum, Corning, New York; Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In 2007 he was selected to participate in the "We Are All Knots" print project, sponsored by the National Museum of the American Indian and ART in the Embassies Program Print Series. He was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 1999.

Education

BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1982
​MFA in Fine Arts from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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Dine (Navajo) Ethnobotany Presented by Visiting Native Scholar Arnold Clifford, Ethnobotanist
Thursday, April 27 | 2:30 p.m.
Wescoe 1007, KU campus
Sponsored by Haskell Indian Nations University K-INBRE Visiting Scholar Program, KU Indigenous Studies and Environmental Studies programs, and Climate Change and Indigenous Communities EPSCoR Project

Understanding Free Speech on a University Campus
Tuesday, April 25 | 7 p.m.
The Commons, Spooner Hall
1340 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS
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Indigeneity and Contemporary Art Featuring HOCK E AYE VI Edgar Heap of Birds and Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds
Wednesday, April 26 | 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m.
Brosseau Center for Learning, Spencer Museum of Art
Visiting artist Edgar Heap of Birds and scholar Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds deliver two lectures on contemporary Native art. Edgar, named a Distinguished KU Alumnus in 2014, discusses native public art and studio practices, and Shanna, instructor at the University of Oklahoma, focuses on the landscapes of Kent Monkman.
Sponsored by the Hall Distinguished Professor in American Culture endowment, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of American Studies, Indigenous Studies Program, and Spencer Museum of Art

11th Annual AIHREA O.N.E. Pow Wow 
Friday, May 5 | Grand Entry 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 6 | Grand Entry 1 p.m.
Johnson County Community College Gymnasium
​Overland Park, KS
http://aihrea.org/#/aihrea-one.html

Haskell Commencement Pow Wow
May 19-20 | Times TBD

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