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Walk Softly

October 19, 2021

Walk Softly
In addition to the students from Tiospa Zina Tribal School, a few DSU students and faculty members also contributed work to “Walk Softly.”

Angela Behrends’ collaborative piece “Walk Softly” has been acquired by the Sioux Falls Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center for its permanent collection.

Behrends, Assistant Art Professor, created the 11 ft. work with the Tiospa Zina Tribal School in 2016. The circular canvas is filled with images of all of creation – animals, plants, insects, water, sky – except for people.

Due to the size of the canvas, Behrends, the students, and their art teacher Amy Woolston couldn’t work on it inside a classroom. “This was all happening out in the hallway,” Behrends shared.

The Tiospa Zina Tribal School K-12 art students created their additions out of colorful felt. “We made patterns from paper and then traced those onto the felt,” Behrends explained. “We had just bags and bags of felt sheets. They were so colorful, all stacked up it was just delicious.”

Students were able to choose plant life, fish, amphibians, mammals, insects, and other aspects of nature to be glued to the canvas. Some high school students also spent time cutting and gluing long narrow triangles to the canvas to finish the edge of the canvas.

“There is nowhere within the circle to step without standing on some part of creation,” Behrends explained. “We are invited to remove our shoes and enter the circle to help us understand our responsibility to be conscientious with our environment and walk softly.”

In addition to the students from Tiospa Zina Tribal School, a few DSU students and faculty members also contributed work to “Walk Softly.”

The finished piece was part of the 2016 event, “Healing our Shared Past,” which focused on South Dakota American Indians. It also was featured in Pierre for Madison/DSU Hosts the Legislature Day in 2017, followed by an exhibition at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center. It was also on exhibit at the Post Pilgrim Gallery in Sioux Falls in 2018.

Behrends hopes the piece reminds people that they are treading on creation all of the time. “So be careful, be aware, have some reference for what you’re treading on when you walk on top of it.”

“Walk Softly” can be viewed in the Egger Gallery as part of the Northern Plains Tribal Art: Works from the Collection exhibition through March 28, 2022.

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