Southern Cheyenne artist Bear’s Heart (Nokkoist) used ledger books acquired in trade or by gift from white traders and military officers to create detailed drawings of personal and cultural histories after he was captured by the US Army following the end of the Red River War (1874–75).
While incarcerated at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida, Bear’s Heart drew images recounting the journey southeast to Florida, many including boats and trains as shown here. After his release Bear’s Heart went to Hampton Institute, a school in Virginia founded to provide education to former slaves, but he later left to return to what had become the Cheyenne-Arapaho Agency, a reservation established at the end of the Red River War in the territory that is now Oklahoma. Nokkoist died from tuberculosis at the age of thirty-one.
“The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists” is on view until January 5, 2020. Throughout the run of the exhibition, admission to The Drawing Center will be FREE (Wed - Sun, 12pm - 6pm | Thurs, 12pm - 8pm)
Please note our holiday hours: Closed Dec 25 - Jan 1
Open Jan 2 - Jan 5, 12pm - 8pm
Image: Attributed to Bear's Heart (Nokkoist), “Untitled Ledger Drawing,” c.1875-1878. Watercolour, graphite, and color pencil on paper. Courtesy of Donald Ellis Gallery, New York, Vancouver.