Current Exhibits

Tsate Kongia: Walking in Two Worlds, the Life of Blackbear Bosin

Exhibit Dates: permanent exhibit

The exhibit gives an in-depth look into the personal and professional life of Bosin, one of the founders of the Indian Center and the man behind Wichita's iconic Keeper of the Plains sculpture. Tsate Kongia was Bosin's Kiowa name. It means "Blackbear" and belonged to his great-grandfather, a Kiowa chief. The exhibit includes paintings, photographs, vintage film footage, live audio tapes made by Bosin and interviews with people who were close to him. Bosin was an internationally recognized Comanche-Kiowa sculptor and acrylic/watercolor painter from Oklahoma who adopted Wichita as his home in 1940. Primarily a self-taught artist, Bosin helped enhance a better understanding of his culture by presenting scenes and tales of his beloved Indian heritage beautifully to the world. National Geographic gave Bosin his first national recognition in March 1955 with the publication of his painting "Prairie Fire".​​​​

  • Oct 7, 2017
    Food Traditions

    Opening date: October 7, 2017

    Our relationship to the earth through food culture surrounds many parts of our lives. Many American Indian traditions and rituals center on the gifts received from Mother Earth and the fruits of the land. This exhibit examines that relationship.

  • Aug 12, 2017
    Elements: Earth

    Opening date: August 12, 2017

    Earth is the final installment of our Elements exhibit series, featuring the medicine wheel, or circle of life. The medicine wheel encompasses all of the earth and the life within it. We will explore our relationship to the earth and its place in the medicine wheel.

  • Jul 22, 2017
    Indians in the Arts

    Opening date: July 22, 2017

    Many people are aware of traditional American Indian arts. What might be less commonly known, however, is that these art forms are expanding and adapting as our cultures expand and adapt. American Indians create art that honors their heritage and traditions, but combine that with their lived experiences as modern indigenous people. The art found in this exhibit takes a tiny fragment of some of the recent work being created by individuals and groups that can acquaint the public with the contemporary cultural traditions of talented and dedicated artists.

  • Apr 8, 2017
    Zuni Fetishes and Carvings

    Opening date: April 8, 2017

    Fetishes are objects that are filled with the spirits of powerful beings. Zuni people carve stone animals to heal and help the person who has it. Learn about Zuni fetishes and the carvings that are made to resemble them.​​​​

  • Apr 8, 2017
    Pottery: Formed and Fired

    Opening date: April 8, 2017

    Pueblo pottery is as varied as the pueblos in which it is created. The Indian Center has 150 pieces from 17 pueblos that showcase the artistry that goes into the making of this art.

  • Apr 8, 2017
    The Ken Enquist Collection

    Opening date: April 8, 2017

    Although the photographic portrayal of American Indians is not unique, this exhibit differs from other representations in several respects. Historic portraits of Indians often presented them in the artificial environment of the studio, frequently having to wear the regalia of a tribe to which they did not belong. Unlike the posed Indians in historic portraits, the individuals portrayed in the current exhibit chose what they would wear, where they would pose, and they tell their story through the accompanying narratives, in which they express what it is like to be an Indian in Kansas today.​

    The underlying purpose of this exhibit is to sweep away the misconceptions, biases, and ignorance that sometimes obscure our understanding of one another. The picturing of Indian people as real individuals, with unique histories, experiences, feelings, and traditions is the best way to dispel some of these long held and unquestioned judgements. In essence, this exhibit contains the self-portraits of American Indians who speak their own story at a moment in time. The images and words seen here should be considered the representations of living people who are forever changing.​​​​