Norman Akers

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


Summary

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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For most of the 20th century, government agents systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. Many children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity. The film follows the Maine Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s travels to contemporary Wabanaki communities to witness intimate, sacred moments of truth-telling and healing, and reveals the untold narrative of Indigenous child removal in the United States. A panel Q&A will follow.
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