Previous scholarship about the group has credited Oscar B. Jacobson, who was the director of OU’s School of Art at the time, with “discovering” the Kiowa Six and having a pivotal role in their artistic production. While acknowledging that several individuals had an impact on their early careers, this exhibit aims to rewrite the narrative. Both before and after their short residencies at OU, members of the Kiowa Six acted as strong agents of cultural preservation and transmission. Asserting their own agency, they navigated individually the pressures of assimilation from the Kiowa Agency as well as external expectations for their artistic practices.
“Kiowa Agency” is generously supported by the Mellon Foundation. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the graduate student curators for the exhibit, Mariah Ashbacher, Julia Harth, and Olivia von Gries, acknowledge the Osage and Wichita People, on whose ancestral lands this exhibition is located.