Norman Aker’s paintings and prints seek to engage the viewer in important contemporary issues. Aker’s Osage identity and culture shape the visual narrative of personal and cultural survival expressed through his use of color, line and form.
Aker’s deeply felt concern regarding removal, disturbance, and struggle to regain cultural context, is carried by a vocabulary of images and symbols drawn from his Osage heritage and life experience. Tribal oral histories, maps, art historical reference and nature form Aker’s visual dialogue as he explores and continues the Native American storytelling tradition. Ancestral tribal stories are expanded with new and emerging stories that serve as allegories of transformation in an ever-changing world.
Current issues in the news, the concept of borders, immigration and the migration of people are current events working their way into Aker’s work. Especially in his prints, we find the question of the identity of the “other” entering into the visual discourse. Personal content has expanded to engage with current social issues as Aker’s explores the relationship that exists between fact and fiction, mirroring the present moment and echoing the past.