Water Works artist Inkpa Mani resigned amid charges of cultural appropriation


September 12, 2022

City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places

Stone sculptor Inkpa Mani was picked for a prestigious public art project at Water Works park in March.

A prestigious public art project meant for a downtown Minneapolis park is in limbo after the artist chosen for the job resigned amid accusations of cultural appropriation.

The situation echoes many instances of Native-presenting people called out to prove their identities across Indian Country, raising questions about belonging - who is permitted to practice Native arts and who gets to decide.

Inkpa Mani, a 25-year-old Dakota-speaking artist who lives in Wheaton, Minn., was selected in March by an independent panel of community members to create a stone sculpture overlooking St. Anthony Falls. Opened in 2021, the Water Works park area is sacred to the Dakota, who call it Owámniyomni.



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