Episode 11

Published on:

30th May 2024

The Art of Cultural Preservation with John Pepion

What if artwork could be a powerful tool to reclaim and preserve a culture? Join us in an engaging conversation with John Pepion, a distinguished artist from the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, as he shares his remarkable journey and the rich heritage that fuels his creativity. John’s decision to embrace his art full-time in 2009 was more than a career move; it was a commitment to his roots and a declaration of the resilience of the Blackfeet people. We explore his utilization of traditional Blackfoot motifs and styles, including pictographic and ledger art, and discuss how his choice of mediums, from buffalo hides to antique ledger paper, ties him intimately to his ancestry and historical practices.

The episode sheds light on the growing Native American Indigenous art movement, which stretches beyond the canvas to influence fashion, culinary arts, and more. We address the pressing issues of inclusion and representation in mainstream art, emphasizing the necessity of authentic indigenous voices over non-indigenous interpretations. Discover how elements of nature, traditional symbols, and personal experiences serve as profound inspirations in Native American art. John shares insights into how ceremonial practices, historical artifacts, and even museum collections play crucial roles in the storytelling and preservation of indigenous culture.

Listen in as John opens up about the intense dedication required to be an artist, from balancing sleepless nights brimming with ideas to early morning work sessions. We delve into the transformative power of collaboration, the significance of prioritizing personal projects, and John’s ambitious plans for upcoming exhibitions in Montana and a debut in New York City. Learn how art serves as a vital instrument in preserving Indigenous culture and identity, ensuring that the stories and traditions of the Blackfeet people are recorded and cherished for generations to come. Don’t miss this inspiring episode filled with passion, creativity, and cultural enlightenment.

Show artwork for Beyond the Art

About the Podcast

Beyond the Art
The Stories that Bind Us
BEYOND THE ART is hosted by Cray Bauxmont-Flynn who strives to highlight a diversity of roles and voices across the Native American art world, from artists to museum directors and everyone in between.

About your host

Profile picture for Jesse Ulrich

Jesse Ulrich