Friday, September 24, 2010

Meeting a Dakota Artist at the American Indian Center

After leaving the Muslim Community Center of Chicago I decided to walk home. I took a different route. I walked to the American Indian Center. This is the oldest and largest urban center for Native Americans. The center has programs for children and senior citizens. The center houses a small museum. The walls are painted with wonderful pictures utilizing Indian motifs. I decided to go inside and film the murals.

Imagine my surprise to find out that Robert Wobacki, the artist was on site. Not only that but he agreed to show me his paintings and he agreed to an interview. He pointed out that most of the paintings have a trail in them because life is a trail. I told him about our belief that we are all pilgrim people on earth. He liked that.


Interview with Dakota Artist at American Indian Center Robert showed my large murals and tiny paintings. Anything seemed to be a possible site for a painting. He was creative and he continually integrated Native American themes and religion into the subjects of his paintings.

Art was everywhere. The classrooms were full of artifacts from many different First Nation cultures. Robert had made a name for himself. He was now called upon to do paintings in peoples homes. He reports being constantly busy.


Dakota Artist Talking About "The Three Sisters"
Our tour ended in the gymnasium. This room now werves as a theater. Tehre is a stage and room for tales and chairs. As we walked around the room was being prepared for a movie night for that evening.

Robert showed me his mural of The Three Sisters. It was huge and vibrant. He told of the story of creation and gifts of food. It seemed appropriate that the Three Sisters were hanging in a room that was a focus of communal eating. The tour ended. Robert was gracious and a joy to be around. He was a knowledgeable guide. He was well respected by the staff and students of the center. I felt honored to have met him.

It had been a great day and now it was time to go back to the Kaio Community.

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