Salish-Kootenai artist Corwin “Corky” Clairmont will give a public talk on “Art as Activism” at the Missoula Art Museum on Wednesday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m.
Clairmont has expressed his strong convictions through art for more than five decades, according to a MAM news release. His work explores Indian Country and themes of environmental degradation and the effects on all humans and wildlife.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for a reception with Clairmont. The talk will take place upstairs in the Frost Gallery, which is dedicated to contemporary Native American art.
He grew up on the Flathead Indian Reservation and then studied art at California State University, taking classes from conceptual art innovators like John Baldessari, and steeped himself in that community in the 1970s. He later returned to the reservation and founded the art program at Salish-Kootenai College in Pablo.
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His work has continued to address the issues he sees around him, including projects displayed at the MAM.
The 2018 installation project, “Two-Headed Arrow/The Tar Sands Project,” took him to Standing Rock, North Dakota during the pipeline protests and the Suncor mining operations in the Athabaska tar sands in Alberta, Canada.
The project encompassed on-site photographs, prints, performance elements and text.
His “Yellowstone Pipeline Series” addressed oil trucks on the reservation and “environmental hazard and potential loss of life through photographic and abstract imagery,” according to the news release.
His honors include the Montana Governor's Arts Award for Visual Arts and an Eiteljorg Fellowship. He designed the emblem of the American Indian Library Association and the tribal seal of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
The talk is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Native American Studies and anthropology departments at UM.