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OU alumnus opens 'Memorial: Positive and Negative Space' exhibit at Myriad Botanical Gardens

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Transformation: Full Consciousness

One of Tony Tiger's art pieces via the Myriad Gardens' website.

OU graduate and Native artist Tony Tiger has an exhibit titled “Memorial: Positive and Negative Space” on display at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

The exhibit features different styles, including paper with fine art printing, photographs and tribal designs. There is even a series on Indigenous horse culture, Tiger said. 

“I try not to hold myself to one style. Life's too short, and I'm not going to just paint in one style just because it's the way that we kind of view art, maybe in a western view,” Tiger said.

Tiger is a member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma and has Muskogee, Creek and Seminole heritage. His parents were from Oklahoma, but he was born in Los Angeles in 1964 because of the American Indian Relocation Program. This program relocated Native Americans to cities and away from reservations, according to the Native Voices website.

“My parents … were tribal people, so they always congregate around tribal people and then came home to Oklahoma in the 1970s,” Tiger said. “I began to find out how big and vast my (tribes) and family were.”

Tiger said around junior high in the mid-1970s, he began to see art in a way that meant something. 

“I began to see artists like Oscar Howe and some Oklahoma artists run a job, like Jerome Tiger. And then a few other artists ... have been a great inspiration,” Tiger said.

Tiger graduated from OU in 2007 with a Master in Fine Arts. During his time at OU, he said there were influential people he worked with in his career. 

Mary Jo Watson, who is also Seminole, was the director of art at OU. She really understood what we were dealing with as indigenous students … and really helped us to understand what art is,” Tiger said.

His experiences were sculpted by his peers at OU. He started curating exhibitions while at OU and continues to be an independent art curator. In Oklahoma, his latest curation 'Speak: Speak While You Can' is open at the Seminole Nation Museum through the end of this year.

Tiger said his indigenous heritage plays an important part in his work. 

“It's really a beautiful way to live a life, creating art and being able to communicate different ideas to people … and history about America’s role in the relationship with their Indigenous people,” Tiger said. 

Myriad Botanical Gardens’ Crystal Bridge Conservatory Visitor Lobby at 301 W. Reno Ave. is hosting the exhibit. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The gallery is closed on Mondays. Admission to the gallery is free, and Tiger’s exhibit will be on display until Nov. 5.

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