Liverpool, UK – From the USA to Canada to Germany and now England, members of the Dream Warriors artist collective are making waves both at home and internationally. Nearly 2 years after MTV’s Rebel Music Native America, Sicangu Lakota hip hop artist Frank Waln continues to spread messages of hope, life, love, and healing through his music, messages, and collaborations with other artists as well. His work shows it is never solely about the individual, but rather about those we uplift along the way. When it comes to showcasing the strength of voices in art, collaboration is the key to empowerment by sharing the stage and spaces we create.
Just a few months ago Frank Waln, The Sampson Brothers, and Tanaya Winder participated in a North America Native film festival held in Stuttgart, Germany. The festival allowed artists such as the Sila Singers, Roseanne Supernault, the Sampson Brothers and Waln to interact and set the foundation for future work to come. April brought the group to Albuquerque, NM where they performed at the inaugural Rezilience: An Indigenous Arts Experience, an event bringing together Indigenous professionals in the fields of music, academics, writing, performing arts, cinema, visual arts, wellness, and community programming to encourage awareness and engagement for arts. This week takes the group to Liverpool for a multi-arts research and development project called the Sacred Spaces, Sanctuary. The project is funded primarily by the Arts Council England and allows the group to work with local artists to produce a specially commissioned piece before their concert.
Frank Waln describes their journey stating, “I’m excited to bring our performance and message to the UK for the first time and show them how young Indigenous story tellers get down.”
Opportunities like this are also a chance for the group to breakdown stereotypes and misconceptions about Indigenous people. Lumhe Sampson describes it as; “It’s good to bring our stories and messages directly to the folks here. They get a REAL idea of who we are as people, as individuals, and immediately stereotypes are broken into pieces.” But the travel is not without its challenges; from the jetlag, the rehearsals, and overall exhaustion some stereotypes still exist.
Samsoche Sampson writes, “The representing and educating is never ending, its a wonderful experience to be able to travel, but I find we are just as invisible overseas as we are in the states”.
However, when it comes to representing home to the best of their abilities, they are not without gratitude.
“Thanks to everyone who supports us. We wouldn’t be here without you,” says Waln.
On May 28, 2016 the quartet will explore the concept of Sacred Spaces in an installation piece at the Liverpool Central Library.