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$40.00 U.S. (trade discount)
136 pages with 64 illustrations as follows: 53 color ledger drawings by the author, 3 historic ledger drawings, 7 historic black-and-white family photographs, and 1 color catalog cover
ISBN: 978–1–938086–84–7
11.0" x 9.0"

Forthcoming May 2021

Distributed by Casemate IPM

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Book Information Sheet (pdf)

Visual/Language: The Ledger Drawings of Dwayne Wilcox
by Dwayne Wilcox
edited and introduced by Karen Miller Nearburg

Published in association with the Center for the Study of Place.

The first book to feature Dwayne Wilcox's incredible ledger drawings of Native life.

Native American ledger art grew out of the Plains Indian tradition of recording and chronicling through art important tribal events, among them images of war and hunting, that would adorn tipis and animal hides. These were seen as pivotal historical markers.

But Native life on the Great Plains underwent tremendous change following the American Civil War, when the American conquest of the West was in full gear. In just a few decades, access to the hides of diminishing herds of bison, antelope, deer, sheep, and elk became more difficult and eventually impossible with reservation life. So Native people creatively turned to the easily available ledger books of settlers, traders, and military men for their new canvases.

The ledger art drawings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are thus revered today for their depiction of Native life during the difficult transition from freedom on the Plains to life on the reservation. Ledger drawings became an even more important way for Native artists not only to preserve tribal events, but to serve as a new kind of personal socio-political expression.

Dwayne Wilcox, who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, became interested in ledger art at an early age. He was influenced by the work of Lakota ledger artists such as Amos Bad Heart Bull (1869-1913), but he always sought to defy stereotypical notions and perceptions of Native life and culture and create his own artistic vision. Dwayne eventually focused on humor as his way to comment on the objectification of Native Americans.

Skilled as an artist beyond measure, Dwayne's ledger art drawings win major prizes and are sought by museums and collectors who see in him a true artist. In 2020, all of Dwayne's drawings from Visual/Language were purchased by Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Visual/Language: The Ledger Drawings of Dwayne Wilcox is a collaborative effort with curator Karen Miller Nearburg, who provides an enlightening introduction to Lakota ledger art and Dwayne's journey as a Native artist. As she writes: "The 'real art' of Dwayne Wilcox reveals his life experiences as a window into life on the Pine Ridge Reservation."



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