The Ledger Drawings of Dwayne Wilcox

Dwayne Wilcox

The first book to feature Dwayne Wilcox's incredible ledger drawings of Native life.
Date Published :
May 2021
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Editor :
Karen Miller Nearburg
Illustration :
53 color ledger drawings and 6–10 historic illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781938086847
Pages : 136
Dimensions : 9 X 11 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Plains Indian ledger art grew out of the Native tradition of recording and chronicling through art important exploits by warriors and chiefs, among them images of war and hunting, that would adorn tipis and animal hides. These were seen as historical markers. But Native life on the Great Plains underwent tremendous change following the American Civil War, when the American conquest of the West was in full gear. In just a few decades, access to the hides of diminishing herds of bison, deer, antelope, and elk became more difficult and eventually impossible with reservation life. Native people creatively turned to the easily available ledger books of settlers, traders, and military men as their new canvases.

The ledger art drawings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are revered today for their depiction of Native life during the difficult transition to life on the reservation. The ledger drawings thus became a singularly important way for Native artists to preserve tribal history and to serve as a new kind of personal socio-political expression.

Dwayne Wilcox, who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, became interested in ledger art at an early age. He was influenced by the work of Lakota ledger artists such as Amos Bad Heart Bull (1869-1913), but he always sought to defy stereotypical notions of Native life and history and create his own artistic vision. Dwayne eventually focused on humor as his way to comment on the objectification of Native Americans. Skilled as an artist beyond measure, Dwayne’s ledger art drawings win major prizes and are sought by museums and collectors who see in him a true artist.

Visual/Language is Dwayne’s first book, and it was created as a collaborative effort with curator Karen Miller Nearburg, who provides an enlightening introduction to his work. This book will surely penetrate the heart and soul and mind of all who read it.

About The Author

Dwayne Wilcox was born in 1957 in Kadoka, South Dakota, grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. He has been a full-time artist since 1987 but a life-long producer of art. Wilcox’s work has been widely exhibited and is in the collections of institutions throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian, Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Peabody Museum at Harvard University, Museum of Nebraska Art, Charles M. Russell Museum, and National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. His drawings have received numerous awards from the Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum’s Indian Art Market, and South Dakota Governor’s Award in the Art for Distinction in Creative Achievement, and he has received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship and a Bush Artist Fellowship. He resides in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Karen Miller Nearburg was born in 1960 and grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire. She earned her B.A. in fine arts and child development from Tufts University, her Ed.M. from Harvard University, and her M.A. in art history from the University of Maryland, College Park. Karen spent 15 years in Alaska and wrote her M.A. thesis on the work of contemporary Inupiat sculptor Susie Qimmiqsak Bevins. Since then, she has worked in museums and galleries and was Assistant Curator at the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, where she curated Contemporary Native American Ledger Art: Drawing on Tradition (2010), and coordinated Native American Ledger Drawings from the Hood Museum of Art: The Mark Lansburgh Collection (2010), as well as Native American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art (2011–2012). In 2019, she also curated Dwayne Wilcox: Visual/Language at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, among other exhibitions. She resides in Dallas, Texas.

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