Meet Illustrator Katari Wilson

Meet Illustrator Katari Wilson

WAM’s production of The Thanksgiving Play will feature original illustrations by Sicangu Lakota artist and Children’s book author Katari Wilson.  

She sent us this photograph of her wearing a ribbon skirt made by her Hunka Mom (like a godmother in Lakota culture), Christine Sully. Christine gave Katari her Lakota Name, “Awang Wecakwa Winyan Oyate” which translates in English to “Cares For Her People”. 

Katari was born, raised and still resides on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. She works at home, on a ranch in one of the smallest communities on the Rosebud Reservation. She tells us that “my closest neighbor is a mile maybe even two miles away. It is surrounded by buttes and hills that are beautiful all year round.” And she sent the following photograph as proof!

When asked about her inspirations as an artist, Katari replied that: “My Native American Lakota Culture is definitely my main inspiration. Also things that are happening around me as well such as a global pandemic, or memorial tributes to family and friends. But what has inspired me most of all to do my art is my family. I want to make them proud.”

Katari sells the art pieces that she creates (in the form of T-shirts, postcards, greeting cards, vinyl stickers and framed prints) from her online business “Random Art By K. Wilson” She has also written and illustrated a series of Children’s books called “The Adventures of Tyler” which features fictional and non-fictional adventures her toddler has taken. 

Katari’s main drawing style is, no-faced Native American Characters of all types, from teachers, to firefighters and mermaids. As well as 90s cartoon characters. She enjoys drawing them all as Native Americans. She calls this style “Native American Caricatures”. Katari shared that the reason she draws her characters without facial features is “so that anyone can see themselves as one of my characters. Or see themselves as a Native American.”

Although this is the first time that Katari has collaborated with a theatre company, she has collaborated with a few different Rosebud Sioux Tribal programs: for suicide prevention and self help, providing art for some of the reservation COVID-19 relief flyers and she designed the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Liquor Commission’s logo.  Katari would particularly like to draw attention to The St. Francis Mission: Suicide & Crisis Hotline based on the reservation.  According to their website, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, the rate of consummated suicides is roughly thirteen times higher than the national rate, and most of those who attempt to take their own lives are adolescents.  Katari explains that: “This is our local crisis hotline. It truly is an amazing service with amazing people that are available 24/7″

Original art by Katari Wilson will be featured in WAM’s upcoming production of The Thanksgiving Play. Tickets for which can be purchased here.