Bunky Echo-Hawk is a modern Renaissance Indian -- an artist, activist, poet, teacher and member of the Pawnee and Yakama nations who lives very much in the present while incorporating both the tenets and the sorrows of American Indian tradition into a contemporary message. Pierced, tattooed and comfortable in a baseball cap, he's known for strong images that juxtapose images from pop culture with full-on warrior garb, and he calls his paints, brushes and canvases his "weapons of choice" in an effort to bring indigenous issues to light. It's befitting that he's unafraid of the spotlight, where he'll be tonight at the Glenn Miller Ballroom when he performs in a live art show hosted by the the Center for the American West as part of its Modern Indian Identity series.
The idea behind the artist's signature, interactive show is based in history: When tribes still roamed the prairies, they spent their winters recounting great battles and hunting expeditions with help from an artist who'd render the exploits on a hide for posterity. In addition, Echo-Hawk, who believes art should be affordable for everyone, often auctions off his off-the-cuff work at these events.