Balancing Traditions with the Contemporary

During its first 20 years of community service, the May Collection and its associated gallery promoted a scholarly understanding of the past and present material culture of American Indians.  More than 2,000 works housed on USD’s campus serve as a testament to the rich and diverse artistic practices found throughout the United States and Canada. One goal for the next 25 years of collecting in this area will be the support of living artists in our region, and beyond. We have taken the step of commissioning artists to create works especially for USD—Johnny Bear Contreras and Eva Salazar are both examples of this. Other signs of this commitment can be seen in the recent acquisition of works by Wendy Red Star (Crow) and Kent Monkman (Cree)—artists with significant reputations in the contemporary art world whose work promises to engage students for years to come.


Wendy Red Star, Apsáalooke (Crow), born 1981  
The Last Thanks, 2006
Archival pigment print on paper
24 x 36 in. (61 x 91.4 cm)
Purchased with funds from the David W. May Endowment (A2020-4-1)
(Illustrated on the Introductory page)

Eddie J. Encinas, Jr., Gahi'gezhiNga, Omaha Nation
Untitled, 2014
Colored pencil and ink on ledger paper 
11 3/4 x 14 1/4 in. (29.8 x 36.2 cm)
Purchased with funds from the David W. May Endowment (A2014-1-1)

Horses run in front of colorful tipis, design is drawn on an old ledger Eddie J. Encinas, Jr., Gahi'gezhiNga; Image copyright of the artist
Traditionally woven flat basket with a turtle design at center Eva Salazar; Image copyright of the artist

Eva Salazar, Kumeyaay, born 1978
Basket Tray, 2015 
Bunch grass, three-leaf sumac, juncus, dye from elderberry leaves and stem
1 ¾ x 14 ¾ in. (4.5 x 37.5 cm)
Commissioned work with funds from the David W. May Endowment (A2015-6-1)

Kent Monkman, Cree, born 1965
Justice, 2018 
Etching on paper
5 7/8 x 5 7/8 in. (14.9 x 14.9 cm)
Anonymous Gift (A2020-3-2)

Johnny Bear Contreras, Kumeyaay | San Pasqual Band of Mission Indian, born 1963; Kristin Nason, American, born 1970
Untitled, 2019
Screenprint on paper
12 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (31.8 x 24.1 cm)
Commissioned with funds from the David W. May Endowment for the exhibition “There is Hope if We Rise: Protest Posters from AIM to DAPL” (A2020-5-1)