The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

February 14, 2014

OU celebrates Native American skateboard culture during museum exhibit



She managed to convince detractors that no whitewashing was involved and it was the skaters themselves who were telling their experiences.

An adorned deck from Rabbit Studios in Pryor, Okla., is among the 20 skateboards in the show.

“Painted on the deck is an eagle feather with the red, yellow and green ribbon colors from the Vietnam conflict running down the center,” Traci Rabbit said. “My dad, Bill, did two tours in Vietnam.”

The father and daughter members of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma collaborated on paintings and other art together until his death in 2012. Traci has a style distinctive from Bill who is known for his vibrant use of color, but his influence lives on in her.

“If I painted skateboards they would probably be contemporary and colorful,” she said. “They would be on the feminine side for female skaters, incorporating geometric designs.”

Bunky Echo-Hawk, of the Yakama Nation who resides in Pawnee, also has a painted board in the exhibit. He’s an internationally celebrated graphic designer, poet and photographer who designed Nike’s N7 line.

Decks with a variety of graphics and painted Native American imagery are just one part of the exhibition. Photographs and film are also among the entertaining parts of the exhibit.

“There are some spectacular photographs in the show, mostly provided by Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navaho),” Gordon said. “I think the images he provided are some of the strongest.”

Graffiti art panels provide a background for much of the exhibit. Expect a vivacious and colorful experience that reflects the fast-paced excitement of skating. Certain touches that Gordon referred to as “Valentines” are aimed at catching the eye of hard-core skaters.

The exhibit’s first stop outside Washington D.C. was the certifiably thrashin’ skater territory of San Diego, Calif., where it passed muster with flying colors.

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