2020 NBC Artist Series features painting by OKC artist dg smalling
PRESS RELEASE Dec. 17, 2020
A new painting by Oklahoma City artist dg smalling is the 16th commissioned artwork in NBC Oklahoma’s Artist Series, and it continues the bank’s and Chairman Ken Fergeson’s longtime support of the arts in the state.
Smalling’s “Lady Justice Series” stylized and colorful painting is a 60-inch by 53-inch acrylic on birch panel. The artist also considers it the first in his “Operation Lady Justice” series of works, one of which is being used by the U.S. Department of Interior’s multi-agency law enforcement initiative, The Presidential Task force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives, with a special focus on combatting violence against Native women and girls.
Each year, the bank commissions an Oklahoma artist to create an original work of art and then creates limited edition prints, posters and postcards from it as gifts for customers and staff. Read more about the artists in this series at nbcwigwam.art/nbcartists, the website for the bank’s Wigwam Gallery in Altus.
Smalling said he designed his work to capture the vibrancy of Lady Justice featured as a Native American woman; she is holding a shield and cloaked in a blanket representing day and night in his painting for NBC.
“Justice herself, is uplifting. … Justice is a strong woman,” said smalling, who prefers lowercasing his name. “She invokes the ideal of community that teaches an individual that 50 percent responsibility is to your people and 50 percent responsibility is to yourself and that lessons along the way are universal in life, not just afforded to one group of people.”
More of smalling’s paintings in this series are currently on display through Jan. 21 at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, 1400 Classen Drive in Oklahoma City, in a special exhibit featuring smalling and artist Nicole Moan called “The Visage of Modern Matriarchy.”
Smalling, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was born in Waxahachie, TX, spent his first few years around Idabel and Haworth and by the age of 8 had traveled to Switzerland, Cameroon, and South Africa with his parents, who were missionaries. He had access to art programs in Commonwealth and international schools. He graduated from high school in Johannesburg, South Africa and then attended the University of Oklahoma.
Several exhibitions have featured smalling’s art, including Epcot Disney World, Oklahoma’s Centennial Show, the Grand Palais in Paris, France, and National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, which included his work in its “Choctaw Code Talkers Celebration” in 2012. The artist’s commissioned work includes portraits of U.S. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. Congressman Tom Cole and T. Boone Pickens.
He currently lives in Oklahoma City where he views his art as his business and enjoys his two favorite hobbies – cooking and curiosity about his surroundings, he said.
About NBC Oklahoma
NBC Oklahoma is a $750 million state bank with seven locations across Oklahoma. It is an Oklahoma-owned bank. Member FDIC. Website: nbc.bank.
About Wigwam Art Gallery
Several years ago, NBC Oklahoma built the Wigwam Art Gallery in Altus, OK, to resemble the 1920s-era Wigwam Movie Theater that was once located there. A vision of NBC Chairman Ken Fergeson, the art gallery is used to promote Oklahoma artists and art and to host events for some nonprofit institutions. The Wigwam Gallery is located next to NBC Oklahoma in downtown Altus on the corner of Commerce and Hudson. Go online to nbcwigwam.art for information about the gallery, current exhibits or NBC Oklahoma’s art or to take a virtual tour of current and recent previous exhibits. Contact Matthew Davids, NBC’s administrator of art collections, at 580-481-3150 or firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.