Native American Artist D.G. Smalling is hosting an art exhibit in the Cultural Engagement Center at Northern Oklahoma College during April.
An artist’s reception for Smalling will be held April 30 at 12:30 p.m.
Smalling’s work reflects his Choctaw heritage.
“My Choctaw heritage is a vital facet of my life,” he said. “The Choctaw culture embraces minimalism in its traditional forms and lifestyles. I consider my work an extension of this tradition using modern materials.”
“My work has evolved into an exercise of contemporary Southeastern ‘neo-hieroglyphics,’ he said. “By this I mean to re-approach the hieroglyphic art of my Choctaw heritage in a modern way both in terms of materials/techniques and subjects. The continuous line defines the contours of the subject, at which point I develop the contoured areas with paint or ink. In this way the neo-hieroglyph conforms to the old, but is dynamically fluid with motion and not rigid. The subjects I depict are rarely historical because I want to describe life today.”
Smalling has commissioned portraits of United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, Justice Yvonne Kauger, United States Congressman Tom Cole, and Mr. T. Boone Pickens.
Smalling has a collection at the Choctaw Casino in Durant, Commissioned Gifts of a Grand Buffalo for Oklahoma City’s first native Mayor David Holt’s office (2018) and a Gourd-Dancer for HSH Prince Albert of Monaco 50th birthday (2008).
Smalling’s work has appeared in the following exhibitions: Ikbi: Choctaw and Chickasaw Southeastern Cultural Art (Oklahoma City, OK)(2018); Burn-In Gallery (Vienna, Austria)(2016); Exhibit C (Oklahoma City, OK)(2015); National Museum of the American Indian “Choctaw Codetalkers Celebration” (Washington, DC)(2012); Grand Palais “Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture á l’Eau” (Paris, France)(2011); and Epcot Disney World: State of Oklahoma Centennial Show Featured Artist (2007).
The Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) program grant and related assistance awarded to NOC is for the purpose of improving academic programs and fiscal support for student services.
NOC’s mission to provide “high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services...” is critical to the region’s residents, and the college serves as the educational access point for thousands of disadvantaged area residents. According to fall 2015 grant data, NOC served 4,642 students, 12% (548) of whom were Native American. More than half (55%) of NOC’s students are enrolled part-time; 81% are first generation in college; 59% are low income; a fifth of students (20%) are age 25 or older. Based on spring 2016 survey results, most NOC students work (61%); almost a third are parents (30%); and 62% commute, many traveling 30 miles or more to campus.
Northern is particularly interested in better serving its growing Native American student population. Native American enrollment at NOC has grown by 42% over the past 10 years; one in every eight NOC students is Native American. There has been a significant increase in online enrollment among its Native American students, and area tribes are working with NOC to promote Native American postsecondary success.