Category Archives: Exhibits

The Artwork of Russell Means on display

"Ignorant (Hernan Cortes)," by Russell Means

“Ignorant (Hernan Cortes),” by Russell Means

"Valentine," by Russell Means

“Valentine,” by Russell Means

By EIU Media Relations

Russell Means and Gordon Grado met under challenging circumstances.

Means, perhaps best known as a political activist and early leader of the American Indian Movement, could barely talk because of a cancerous tumor pressing against his throat.  He and his wife, Pearl, met Grado, a world renowned oncologist based in Scottsdale, Ariz., during Means’ initial consultation.

“When we walked in, Gordon sat on the edge of his chair, looked straight into Russell’s eyes and told him what an honor it was to meet him,” Pearl Means recalled.

Grado went on to tell the couple about his father, Louis, a retired Eastern Illinois University professor of education, who would come home each evening and ask his children, “What did you do for humanity today?”  The elder Grado would also talk about notable individuals who worked and sacrificed for the good of the people.

Russell Means, Grado said, was one of those notables by whom he became so inspired.

“He and my father were alike in their struggle to identify whatever wasn’t right and to try and find a solution without compromising one’s beliefs or principles,” Grado said.

“As (Russell’s) wife, I often heard others speak highly of my husband,” Pearl Means said.  “But Gordon’s words were especially powerful.  My husband told me later that he knew he had an ally in Dr. Grado.”

Several months following that meeting, in October 2012, 72-year-old Russell Means succumbed to throat cancer.

“But we were very grateful for Dr. Grado’s help,” Pearl Means said.  Through a treatment known as TomoTherapy, her husband’s tumor had been “successfully eliminated,” allowing him to spend his finals days on earth with his voice intact.

Grado and his wife, Mary, continue to keep in contact with Pearl Means.  They also collect artwork created by her husband, who began painting in the ‘90s.

Pieces of their collection, titled “The Artwork of Russell Means,” will appear on display between April 13 and May 15 in the Marvin Foyer of Booth Library, located on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.  Admission is free and open to the public.

“Mr. Means was not only an activist, but a musician, artist, philosopher, mentor, historian, sociologist and history maker,” Grado, an EIU alumnus, said.  “Touching on all of these areas truly makes him unique and someone that would touch the university, students and faculty in many ways.

“The forte of Mr. Means’ work is not only in his activism and support of the indigenous nations, but his constant commitment to identify and attempt to correct any injustice that he saw,” Grado continued.  “He also didn’t mind discussing either his weaknesses or his strengths and was uniquely able to provide not only a magnifying glass to see life but a corrective lens to see it clearly.”

Russell Means appeared in the 1992 film, “The Last of the Mohicans,” as Chingachgook.  “That role opened up the artistic side of this man,” Pearl Means said.  He viewed “artists as the true revolutionaries, for they see the need for change first.”

Her husband created dozens of paintings over the year, including five series. One of those series, titled Indian Killer, features 12 “alleged American heroes.”  Each piece measures 34 inches by 27 inches and includes a framed narrative, written by Russell Means to explain “who (those individuals) really were.”

Additional exhibit pieces include the following:  “Buffalo on Plains,” “Ancestors Leaving,” “Tatanka,” “Valentine,” “The Dance” and “Crazy Horse.”  The exhibit also features a portrait of Russell and Pearl Means that was painted by Pearl’s sister.

 

Related stories:

Oncologist Gordon Grado Shares Knowledge, Expertise and Clinic with EIU Students:  http://castle.eiu.edu/media/viewstory.php?action=1049

Through ‘Life-changing’ Experience, EIU Alumnus Gives EIU Students a Leg Up
http://castle.eiu.edu/media/viewstory.php?action=1050

Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker are focus of exhibit

PrintQuanah in StarHouse

Booth Library is presenting an exhibit and program series about Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker during the spring semester. The series is titled “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend.”

Cynthia Ann Parker was born c. 1827 to Silas and Lucy Parker. Cynthia Ann’s grandfather, Elder John Parker, her uncle, Benjamin Parker, and other members of the family were among the first white settlers of what is now Coles County.

In about 1833, several members of the Parker clan moved to Texas and created Fort Parker there. A few years later, a band of Indians attacked the fort, killing many and kidnapping a few of the children, including Cynthia Ann, age 9.

Cynthia Ann grew up as a member of the Comanche tribe, married one of the chiefs and bore three children. The oldest, Quanah, grew to become a politically influential leader and is considered to be the last Comanche chief. Cynthia Ann was kidnapped again and returned to the Parkers in 1860, but she never forgot her Comanche family and wished to return to them.

A variety of programming was offered during February, including lectures, panel discussions and three film screenings. The exhibit will be on display at Booth Library through April 9. For a complete schedule of programs, visit the series web page here.

“There are still many descendants of the Parker family living in the area,” Lanham said. “We hope they and other community members interested in local history will enjoy the library’s program.”

Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend, developed and produced by the faculty and staff of Booth Library, has been made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly. Additional support was provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. The Texas Lakes Trail and Texas Trail of Fame were instrumental in providing many of the historic photographs found in the exhibit.

* Special thanks to Carolyn Stephens, Becky Parker, James David Parker and David Parker for their research help and support, and to Mike Watts and Kit Morice of the Tarble Arts Center.

For more information on the “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend” series, contact Beth Heldebrandt at emheldebrandt@eiu.edu or 581-6064.

Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s

1960s-web-button

Area residents are encouraged to take a step back in time and experience “Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s.” Booth Library will sponsor this exhibit that looks at what is arguably one of the most turbulent and eventful decades of the 20th century.

Although the programs in this series have ended, Booth Library is filled with exhibits exploring numerous aspects of this fascinating decade as Americans experienced it — including developments in the worlds of music, literature, visual arts, science and technology, politics, and social movements.

The public is encouraged to stop by and take a look!

Library honored for presenting informational and varied exhibits

Booth Library has a history of hosting traveling exhibits from the American Library Association, National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Library of Medicine. Topics have ranged from the life of Queen Elizabeth I to Harry Potter to our award-winning Frankenstein exhibit.

Library staff has also created many of its own major exhibitions, including Teachers Tame the Prairie and Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s. Other grant-funded programs, including America’s Music and Muslim Journeys, have earned national recognition.

Faculty and students from throughout campus are encouraged to participate in our exhibit and program series. Stay tuned for updates and ways to get involved in future programming.