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K-State Today

February 5, 2019

Mid-America Arts Alliance to present 'Wester: Works on Paper from the Konza Prairie' by Erin Wiersma

Submitted by Department of Art

The Mid-America Arts Alliance will present "Wester: Works on Paper from the Konza Prairie" by artist Erin Wiersma, Kansas State University associate professor of art, for First Friday from 6-8 p.m. March 1 at 2018 Baltimore Ave. in Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District.

Wiersma makes her work by dragging pieces of paper — sometimes loose-leaf, sometimes mounted on a tube —  along the floor of burned sections of the Konza Prairie. The resulting pieces — part collaboration with nature, part process art, part record of a performance — act as a document of Wiersma's travels through the fields.

"When I go out to work in the prairie it is a very ceremonious experience. The whole event is sacred and meditative for me," she said. "I typically pass through a gated section housing a herd of bison that dwell within these lands and graze. At one time Native Americans thrived on the land alongside great herds of bison. Burning was used as a method to herd the bison to specific areas for hunting, and also to rejuvenate the soil. I cannot be on this land without thinking of the people and animals that live here, both past and present."

In addition to approximately 10 works on paper, the exhibition includes a short video of Wiersma making her work out in the field. Wiersma's work also is currently part of a group show at the Galerie Fenna Wehlau in Munich, Germany.

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