NORMAN — An opening reception for the “Ramp It Up” exhibit at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History had to be postponed because of bad weather, but that didn't stop students from the Riverside Indian School from making a field trip to see it.
The exhibit opened Feb. 8 and will run through June 15. The opening reception was postponed until April 5.
The exhibit celebrates the vibrancy and creativity of the skate culture on American Indian reservations and in Native Hawaiian communities.
“Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America” is a new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, together with the National Museum of the American Indian.
Among the first visitors to the exhibit on opening day were students from the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko who are skateboard enthusiasts.
Skateboarding has been one of the most popular sports on Indian reservations, inspiring and influencing American Indian and Native Hawaiian communities since the 1960s.
Curator Betsy Gordon said Indian skaters and entrepreneurs have combined core lessons learned from the sport such as strength, balance and tenacity with traditional tribal iconography and contemporary art to engage Indian youths in their history and culture.
Included in the exhibit is the work of such visual artists as Bunky Echo-Hawk of the Yakama/Pawnee tribe; Joe Zazzie, Navajo; Traci Rabbit, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; and Dustinn Craig, White Mountain Apache/Navajo.
Highlights include a never-before-exhibited 1969 image taken by skateboarding icon C.R. Stecyk III of a skate deck depicting traditional Indian imagery, and 1973 home-movie footage of Zephyr surf team members Ricky and Jimmy Tavarez, members of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe.
The opening reception April 5, co-hosted by the Jacobson House, will feature live painting of skateboard decks and an auction of works produced that day.