“Big Thanks”: Dyani White Hawk on Wopila | Lineage

“My ancestors have practiced forms of abstraction, through porcupine quill work, through bead work, through painted works on rawhide, through painted parfleche (so painted works on rawhide), and on and on. I draw from that rich history and I combine those with my passion for easel painting.” In a new video from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Dyani White Hawk discusses Wopila | Lineage (2021), her contribution to the 2022 biennial. The work, an 14-by-8–foot assemblage of glass beads and paint on aluminum, draws its name from both the Lakota word for “big thanks” and the lineage of makers she’s part of, from Indigenous artists to the mainly male and white painters celebrated for their contributions to abstraction.

The Whitney Biennial, Quiet as It’s Kept, is on view through September 5, 2022.