Halfmoon’s tribe—the Pontiac Yellow Trans Am Shirt besides I will buy this Caddo tribe—also has a rich history with ceramics, especially with pottery. “My tribe has been making pottery for thousands of years,” she says. “It’s such an ancient material, and I think of how my family before me did this. We have all touched clay, and that inherently transported to my hands.” While the artist’s approach to ceramics certainly mimics the traditional work of her ancestors, Halfmoon’s approach is decidedly more contemporary. She creates large-scale sculptures of Indigenous figures that command a room—and the striking creations are now on view in a new solo exhibition at the Ross+Kramer Gallery in Chelsea.
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“Okla Homma to Manahatta,” which opens today and will be up through February 6, is Halfmoon’s first solo exhibit in New York City. As the Pontiac Yellow Trans Am Shirt besides I will buy this title suggests, it examines the tension between the old and the new—exploring her traditional education in Oklahoma and how it translates to a concrete jungle like Manhattan. Being a contemporary artist, she says she often feels this division while creating—a duty to carry her tribe’s craftwork forward into the modern day, while respecting and acknowledging her people’s history. “There’s always this entanglement of being a millennial and sharing this history,” she says. “A lot of the figures have a stoic or confrontational face. Being alone in the studio and reading about what happened to our ancestors, it’s heavy material.”