Norman Akers

Born 1958
Hometown Fairfax, OK
Lives and Works Lawrence, KS
MFA Painting, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, 1991
Certificate of Museum Training, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1984
BFA Painting, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, 1982

New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC
University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rockwell Museum, Corning, New York
Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indian
Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Museum of Contemporary Native American Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Art in the Embassies Program, U.S. Department of State, Yerevan, Armenia
Gardiner Art Gallery, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Fine Arts Center, Eastern Wyoming College, Torrington, Wyoming
Southern Plains Indian Museum, Anadarko, Oklahoma

The Osage artist Norman Akers reinvents what it means to be a cartographer through paintings and prints whose nonlinear map images range from names of states, roadway lines, tribal oral histories, and flora and fauna. These qualities converge to express both a personal and cultural exploration in reclaiming a sense of place and home. In Okesa (2010), which means "halfway there" in Osage, an elk—a recurring symbol in Akers's work, representing the physical world where animals and humans coexist in Osage culture—stands at the center of the painting with an ambiguous expression, suggesting both demanding or pleading. Abstracted antlers in blue float behind the elk and overlap the black map lines, suggesting the inescapable unity between nature and the man-made presence of culture, borders, and construction. This map depicts northern Oklahoma, the reservation area of the Osage, and is contrasted with open planes and water, and giant floating acorns.

Akers has had solo exhibitions at institutions including the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, the Lawrence Arts Center, and the Carl Gorman Museum. He has been included in group exhibitions at the Katonah Museum of Art, Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, and the National Museum of the American Indian, among others.

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