Angela Two Stars
Various Media

ARTIST STATEMENT: Language, by definition, is a body of words and systems for their use common to people who are of the same community, geographical area, or the same cultural traditions. It is a tool through which to communicate thoughts and emotions. Native American languages are regional entities that identify specific tribal nations in respect to their people, culture, stories, and ceremonies. With the undeniable presence, actions, and effects of assimilation, boarding-school trauma, and incomplete generation-to-generation learning of Native American languages, the potential loss of these languages is imminent and deserves immediate revitalization efforts.
My work explores the native language of my tribe, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Currently, there are less than 70 fluent Dakota speakers, and the average age of those speakers is 78-years old. My desire is to raise awareness of the endangered status of Native American languages. My work acts as a learning tool and considers the younger audience, who are the potential future of our language. I employ an interactive element to my work to address how learning a language requires active participation.

Language has a way of capturing the viewer and acts as a lure. By using text within my artwork affects the way the viewer responds and receives the work. What is communicated as text versus what is communicated visually is different, yet similar, and both convey information. It is up to the audience of which aspect to interpret.

Artist Bio:  Angela Two Stars is a public artist and curator. She is a citizen of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and received her BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design, in Grand Rapids, MI. Angela is the director of All My Relations Arts in Minneapolis, MN. Angela's public art graces the shores of Bde Maka Ska and shares the Dakota language through visual accessibility. Angela has multiple public artworks currently in production, including her commission as the finalist for the Walker Art Center's Indigenous Public Art Commission which will be installed in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, as well as commissions for the City of Minneapolis, St. Paul Port Authority through Forecast Public Art, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts all of which are slated to be permanently installed in 2021. Angela lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband and three children.