oklaDADA is a collective of Indian Artists networking and promoting Indigenous perspectives to create opportunities that give voice to Indian cultural identities.
A group of American Indian artists and other individuals from the community with the desire to support Indian Artists, began meeting in November 2005 to establish a networking organization that would help cultivate a fertile environment where Oklahoma Artists would no longer feel the need to leave the state of Oklahoma to achieve success.
DADA is a reference to artists who came from many nations, escaping the destruction of World War I, and meeting serendipitously in Zurich, Switzerland. They welcomed the participation of artists from both genders and all media, including visual artists, dancers, poets, and musicians. They created events that incorporated these media with a cooperative interest in rejecting the ideology, religion, and politics that empowered those aggressors who started the War and continued the spirit of destruction.
Dada is sometimes seen as a nonsensical reference that can be translated as "yes, yes" but it represented the artists' belief that the positive potential for the human race lay in the refusal to accept that Western Civilization's perspective was the only valid perspective. Their work is often referred to as "anti-art" in that they often worked in ways that defied the Western traditions of the definition of art. The DADAists were the first comprehensive group in Western Art History to fully explore the idea of "gesamtkunstwerk," which is the German word to represent the idea of the "whole work of art", including all the senses and recognizing the spiritual nature of creative work. This is relative to how many Indian artists work, recognizing the importance of the spiritual connection and the full encounter of the work and the relevance of the image.
Artists who were involved in DADA have come to be recognized as having significant impact on almost every aspect of 20th century art history. They include Marcel Duchamp, Hans Arp, Hannah Hoch, Kurt Schwitters, and Man Ray. The idea of gesumtkunstwerk and synergy are two of the most interesting concepts working in contemporary art. I truly believe that exploring these topics and finding the relation of them, or related ideas, to indigenous aesthetics will open up the opportunities for Indian artists within the contemporary art dialogue. They are the link, as is the science of Chaos theory is to understanding indigenous culturesWant to get involved?
Written by: Heather Ahtone