In 2016 artist Margie Beth Labadie and writer/poet Tonya Holy Elk Locklear formed a literary-visual project called Earth Women Arts. Labadie's visuals and Locklear's words have blossomed into collaborative artworks that ignite, intrigue and inspire. The four images included here are part of their first exhibition named for one of Locklear’s poems, “Women of the Red Earth.” Tonya Holy Elk Locklear (Lumbee/Ogala Lakota) and Margie Beth Labadie (Ashkenazi-Levite) have created visually striking works made from Native American objects that entice viewers to come closer. As they read the poetry and short stories, they discover through these newly written, untold histories that Native Americans still continue to struggle in an overwhelmingly non-indigenous United States. As viewed through the Indigenous lens, the images in the exhibition Women of the Red Earth are meant to knock down the stereotypical walls that continue to be the European perception of Native Americans. Non-Native viewers can become part of these histories and experiences that American Indians encountered, and still face today. Women of the Red Earth is meant to create new spaces for Native Americans and Non-Native Americans to re-visualize each other. It is hoped that images from this exhibition will spark and expand dialogs on indigenous peoples everywhere.
Margie Beth Labadie’s personal, expressive fine art work represents a seamless flow of
digital and traditional techniques that include digital scanning and photography,
printmaking, drawing and collage. Her art exhibitions, digital fine art workshops and
creativity lectures are presented internationally and nationally.
Margie Labadie’s artwork has been exhibited in over 60 international exhibitions
including ones in Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Cuba, England, France, India, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Venezuela. In the United States, her artwork has been exhibited in more than 40 national and regional exhibitions from Los Angeles, to San Francisco to New York City. Margie Labadie lectures and presents workshops nationally and internationally, along with her husband-collaborator Dr. John Antoine Labadie. They have exhibited, worked and lectured in universities and at conferences throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.
In 2003, Margie Labadie received her Masters of Fine Art (MFA) from East Carolina University in Printmaking with an emphasis in digital techniques. In 1982 she received her undergraduate art degree from Temple University, Philadelphia, USA and Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy. In between degrees, she was Vice President of a nationally known printing and publishing company, and for nine years she owned and operated the international travel company, Steppingstone Tours, taking artists into the rain forests of Central and South America. Her artwork can be found online at SteppingstoneArts.com, issuu.com
A lecturer in the Art Department of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Margie Labadie is President of Jumbo Arts International a federally recognized non profit arts organization based in North Carolina. She is the Publisher of the online publication, the Journal of Creative Arts and Minds (JCAM). More information on the non profit and journal is available at JumboArtsInternational.org
Tonya Holy Elk Locklear is a partner in the project Earth Women Arts. Locklear’s writings capture the feelings of Native Americans but can speak to any displaced culture or erased history. Her poems and stories have been presented as Spoken Word. Her writing has been published in the Journal of Creative Arts and Minds and she gives workshops on creative writing. Her passion to write was rekindled when she was learning more about Indigenous people in the American Indian Studies program at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP). Short versions of her poems and short stories can be found online at EarthWomenArts.com.
Currently Tonya Holy Elk Locklear is the Administrative Support Associate for the Department of Biology at UNCP. She is well known in her local Native American community as a musician with family band, “Lakota John and Kin.” A non-traditional student, Locklear will complete her Bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies at UNC Pembroke this year.