February 3, 2018–March 25, 2018

New York, NY

The tipi, an iconic symbol and perhaps one of the most widely recognized structures of early life for Plains Indians, gets a space-age makeover in the newest installation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York. Manifestipi features five frosted Plexiglas tipis, each eight feet in height and colorfully illuminated with neon hues of pink, blue, green and yellow that rapidly change throughout the day. Arranged within a darkened space, the tipis are set against a background of quick-paced video projections of Native imagery and a ghostly soundscape. Visitors will be able to walk around the tipis and experience the installation from multiple angles.

The installation is the creation of the ITWÉ Collective, a trans-disciplinary art collective dedicated to research, creation, production and education in the field of Aboriginal digital culture, based in Winnipeg and Montréal, Canada, and composed of Sébastien Aubin (Cree/Métis), Kevin Lee Burton (Swampy Cree) and Caroline Monnet (Anishnabe/French).

The team created the futuristic encampment in 2016. Manifestipi is meant to challenge perceptions, encourage dialogue and discourse, and promote individual perspectives about shared spaces. Using tipis meshed with modernized materials, ITWÉ speaks about efficiency and portability in modern society by reliving the communal effort that it takes to build a sense of place.

Manifestipi is a special, limited-engagement installation running in conjunction with the exhibition Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound.


Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound and related programming are made possible through the generous support of the members of the New York Board of Directors of the National Museum of the American Indian, Ameriprise Financial, and Con Edison.