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SD Artist Sells Third Piece To Smithsonian Institute

Chynna Lockett

A South Dakota artist won best of show at the Sante Fe Indian market this year. The Smithsonian Institute purchased the piece and is transporting it to Washington D.C. this week.

This is the third creation 59 year old Kevin Pourier has sold to the Smithsonian Institute. He’s been sculpting art pieces from buffalo horns since 1994. Pourier says he and his wife, Valerie Morgan, collaborated on this year’s winning piece.

“We talked about it for a few months just trying to think how we were going to do a piece about women. And finally Valerie said ‘well you’re good at doing portraits, do women portraits.”

Credit Chynna Lockett

The subjects are Native women across the country who do grassroots work in their communities. Pouier carved eight faces into buffalo horn belt conchos and inlayed designs behind each portrait. He says the women were pleased with the piece.

“I don’t think any of them expected that this piece would get the attention that it did. They’re mostly kind of like me where they’re really surprised that their image has gotten so much attention and it’s going to the Smithsonian.”

Pouier says this art piece isn’t only about creating something beautiful. It’s about drawing attention to issues Native communities face.

Credit Chynna Lockett

“This has just taken on a whole life of it’s own because it’s not just something that I made, but it’s stories of eight different women and their families and their communities. A lot of people are interested. There’s so many things happening that’s centered around this maybe bigger things to come.”

The belt is making it’s way to Washington D.C. Thursday, where Pouier says people from all over can learn about these local activists.