RedCan Graffiti Jam
The “RedCan” Graffiti Jam was held June 28-30, 2018 in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation. RedCan, the only event of its kind in Indian Country, merges Lakota and graffiti cultures and celebrates individuality, positive self-expression, creativity and healing of the Cheyenne River community. Professional Native and non-Native graffiti artists, who had traveled to the reservation from across the country to be part of this one of a kind event, worked with our youth and local graffiti artists to art wash our rural, isolated town with vibrant culturally focused murals. It offered Cheyenne River’s young people and community an unparalleled opportunity to experience the contemporary graffiti art movement, learn about different techniques and styles, and paint alongside master artists from across the country.
Activities included a youth arts exhibition on display in the Cokata Wiconi teen center. Artists painted in 10 outdoor locations across the community, vendor booths were open in the Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, and a youth traditional dance exhibition with youth drum group performed daily. Young people participated in art classes through First Peoples Fund’s Rolling Rez Arts bus that included skateboard painting, oil pastels, and sugar paint spray art. Not only were kids able to try a wide variety of mediums and styles, they learned from established professionals from all over the country who have built their careers in the arts. Native artists Frank Waln and Mylo Smith Jr. performed.
RedCan is a powerful tool for strengthening the connection young people feel with their Lakota culture and heritage. It offers a safe space for youth to explore their identities and share their stories, while having the opportunity to work with some of the top artists in the country today. The murals continue to be sources of pride and remain unmarred by tagging.