Exploring urban indigenous culture with lowrider bikes
“Anishnaabensag Biimskowebshkigewag: Native Kids Ride Bikes,” on display at the LookOut! Gallery in Snyder Hall, displays seven lowrider bikes that were assembled by Lansing-area Native American students.
Dylan Miner, assistant professor in the Residential College of Arts and Humanities, organized and curated the exhibit.
After receiving an Artist Leadership Program fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian last year, he spent two weeks in residency in Washington, D.C., exploring indigenous culture and means of sustainable travel. After returning to East Lansing, Miner created the Youth Public Art Project in which he worked with RCAH students and Lansing-area Native youth to create a series of lowrider bikes.
Miner wanted to integrate urban, often hip hop, experiences with the traditional teachings of the elders. As a result, the bikes are based in sacred Anishnaabeg teachings, and each one represents one of the seven sacred teachings of the grandfathers.
“Each of the bikes becomes a visual manifestation of those ideas,” Miner said.
The exhibit also consists of several other elements. Seven different colors of pennants hang from the ceiling; each color displays one of the teachings of the grandfather. Photographs from Miner’s workshops, illustrations of the bikes and a documentary detailing Miner’s work on the project are also on display in the gallery.
“Anishnaabensag Biimskowebshkigewag: Native Kids Ride Bikes,” will be in the LookOut! Gallery until Sept. 28. There will also be a reception held the final day at noon in the gallery.