Angela Two Stars: Okciyapi
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Angela Two Stars: Okciyapi

Walker Art Center

Angela Two Stars, rendering of Okciyapi, 2021. Courtesy of Urban Ecosystems. 

October 8, 2021
Angela Two Stars: Okciyapi
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
725 Vineland Place
55403 Minneapolis Minnesota
walkerart.org
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On October 9, a new work by Twin Cites–based artist Angela Two Stars (Dakota, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, b. 1982) will be unveiled in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The Walker-commissioned piece, titled Okciyapi (Help Each Other), 2021, is the first public artwork by a Native artist to be sited in the Garden. Both a gathering place and participatory work, the sculpture is composed of rings of seating elements surrounding a central water feature. 

Two Stars’s sculpture was inspired by the legacy of her grandfather and other teachers working in Dakota language revitalization. The curved seating elements make reference to the ripple effect caused by a drop of water in a pool and represent language knowledge spreading across generations of speakers. The water vessel also serves as a reminder that the name Minnesota is derived from the Dakota phrase “Mni Sota Makoce,” which translates to “the land where the water reflects the clouds.” 

Visitors experiencing the sculpture encounter Dakota words and phrases on the benches and can listen via cellphone to recorded stories told by fluent speakers. “Language revitalization is a healing medicine for Dakota people,” says Two Stars. “Our identity is grounded in our language. Our ceremonies, songs, and stories are rooted in language. Without our language, we would lose an integral part of who we are as Dakota people.” 

About the artist  
Angela Two Stars, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, is a visual artist, arts administrator, educator, and curator. She received her BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI, in 2017. Her work has been exhibited at the Sioux Art Museum in Rapid City, SD; the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji; and All My Relations Arts in Minneapolis, among other gallery and nonprofit spaces. Most recently, her work in the public realm has been visible in the region along the shores of Bde Maka Ska, part of Minneapolis’s Chain of Lakes, with a piece on which she collaborated with artists Sandy Spieler and Mona Smith, dedicated in June 2019.  

Angela Two Stars’ Okciyapi is commissioned by the Walker Art Center, with funds from the T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, the Friends of the Falls, and Russell Cowles, 2021. 

The artist collaborated with Urban Ecosystems, a Native-led and Minneapolis-based landscape architecture firm, in the technical development of her piece. 

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a project of the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. 

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