Living in spirit: Walt Pourier
A look out of Walt Pourier's artist-in-residence studio overlooking downtown Denver, Colo. Pourier was invited by the museum's director to participate in this program after the 2012 Friendship Powwow and held the post from Dec. 1, 2012, to Mar. 10, 2013.
During his time as artist in residence at the Denver Art Museum, Walt Pourier greeted guests, imparted Native knowledge to local youth and also found time to complete his "Raven Cry" painting series.
Skateboarding saves lives
Pourier was instrumental in opening the first concrete skatepark on North Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. His mission to promote healthy alternatives for Native youth helps to battle the area's tragic upswing in suicides, depression and alcoholism.
At the Denver Art Museum, a child plays with buffalo horns after listening to Walt Pourier's tales of Native American life.
Living in spirit
"Lakotas have a word, 'SKAN,' interpreted as 'something that moves.' Spiritual vitality, the force of life itself, is something each of us and all of life possess within." -- Walt Pourier
Walt Pourier stands with the decks he designed for Wounded Knee Skateboards, on display during his artist-in-residence stint at the Denver Art Museum. Pourier met and began collaborating with Wounded Knee Skateboards co-founders Jim Murphy and the late Andy Kessler in 2009.
Song of his people
The artist-in-residence program at the Denver Art Museum allows visitors to interact with and learn directly from participants. Here, Walter Pourier readies himself to sing a song to his guests.
"Raven Cry 1"
Pourier says, "It is believed the black birds fly to warn of the approaching storm, of hard times to come, but it is not to create unease. It is to build compassion, togetherness and hope amongst the people, for once the storm passes, we get renewal." Acrylic on canvas, four feet by five feet.
Pourier holds up Vans shoes, sharing with children how they can do art at home. "Art and skateboarding, which are inseparable in my mind, gave me something to live for and ways to express myself when my own life felt most difficult," he says. "I've been trying to share that in any way I can."
War Party skate decks, featuring the character "Dakota" from a graphic novel Walt Pourier has in the works, titled "The Spirited ONEs."
The Stronghold Society partnered with the Denver Art Museum during the museum's 2012 Friendship Powwow to bring local youth together. This pictograph-symbolisim art project on a traditionally stretched canvas, in the shape of a skateboard, inspired the museum to bring Pourier on as artist in residence this past winter.
The "We Dance" T-shirt/hoodie design by Walt Pourier, owner and creative director of Nakota Designs. "The prophecy given to my people before the massacre at Wounded Knee was that the Seventh Generation would come together to mend the Sacred Hoop that was broken that day," Pourier says. "This current generation is the Seventh Generation. If we can guide them and inspire them, some phenomenal things could happen."