The artworks of HOCK E AYE VI EDGAR HEAP OF BIRDS include multi- disciplinary forms of public art messages, large scale drawings, Neuf Series acrylic paintings, prints, works in glass and monumental porcelain enamel on steel outdoor sculpture. He was recently named an USA Ford Fellow in 2112 and Distinguished Alumni, University of Kansas in 2014.
The artist has studied at the University of Kansas, Lawrence (BFA 1976), Royal College of Art, London (1977 graduate studies) and Tyler School of Art , Philadelphia (MFA 1979). Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts and Letters degrees have been awarded by Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston (2008), Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada (2017), California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, (2018).
Heap of Birds has exhibited his works at The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations Reservation, Oklahoma, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, Documenta, Kassal, Germany, Orchard Gallery, Derry, Northern Ireland, University Art Museum, Berkeley, California, Association for Visual Arts Museum, Cape Town, South Africa, Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hong Kong Art Center, China, Bandung Institute of Technology, Bandung, Indonesia, Grand Palais, Paris, France and the Venice Biennale, Italy.
The artists’ works are in the collections of: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, Ca., Denver Art Museum, Co., Museum of Contemporary Native American Art, Santa Fe, NM., Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Harold Washington Library, Chicago, Il., and Belkin Gallery UBC and Simon Fraser University Gallery, Vancouver, Canada. Recent collections include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, British Museum, London, MoMA and the Library of Congress.
He has served as visiting lecturer in London, England, Western Samoa, Chiang Mai and Bangkok, Thailand, Johannesburg, South Africa, Barcelona, Spain, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Norrkoping, Sweden, Hararre, Zimbabwe, Verona, Italy, Adelaide, Australia, Rio de Janerio, Brazil, Singapore and Deli and Vijayawada, India. He has taught at Yale, Rhode Island School of Design and at the University of Oklahoma. Heap of Birds is retired from teaching at O.U, after 30 years, and is now Professor Emeritus. The Professor taught in Native American Studies. His seminars explored issues of contemporary Native American art in visual arts, film and museums on local, national international levels.
His public art and studio projects have received grants and awards from The National Endowment for the Arts 2012, Andy Warhol Foundation 2004, Bonfil Stanton Foundation 2002, The Pew Charitable Trust 2000, AT & T 1999, Lila Wallace Foundation 1994, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 1989, Rockefeller Foundation 1987.
In June 2005, Heap of Birds completed the fifty-foot signature, outdoor sculpture titled Wheel. The circular porcelain enamel on steel work was commissioned by The Denver Art Museum and is inspired by the traditional Medicine Wheel of the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming.
Heap of Birds’ artwork was chosen by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian as their entry towards the competition for the United States Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. He represented the Smithsonian with a major collateral public art project and blown glass works in Venice, June 2007 titled: “Most Serene Republics”. This broad project was created as a memorial in Italy to over 20 Sioux warriors and children who died as part of Bill Cody’s wild west Euro shows.
His artistic creations and efforts as an advocate for indigenous communities worldwide are focused first upon social justice and then the personal freedom to live within the tribal circle as an expressive individual. Recently Heap of Birds was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2020.