Northern Cheyenne artist's tipis rise at Lincoln sculpture park

LINCOLN — Bently Spang’s new artwork feels less like a single piece than a gathering — 30 tipi tripods fan out in a large V-formation. With no coverings, they blend into their environment but don’t overpower it.

The Northern Cheyenne artist calls his piece, “We Have Always Been Here and We’re Still Here.” It’s one of the newest additions to Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild, the 26-acre outdoor park.

Bently Spang stands with his new installation at Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild in Lincoln last month. Spang’s piece, “We Have Always Been Here and We’re Still Here,” uses interlocking tipi poles in an artistic dialog about cultural references.

TOM BAUER/Missoulian

He loves the architectural form of the tipi and finds it beautiful. The piece does what Indigenous artwork has always done, he said, looking forward and backward in time.

“It has honored the past, it has honored our people, it has talked about what they’re doing with the moment, and the materials all reflected that,” he said. “We’ve adapted and adapted and adapted again.”

Spang, the first Indigenous artist to participate

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