Layli Long Soldier
Long-term installation
Mill Building
Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier, Day Poem : Sun Mirrors, 2023. Steel, mirror, paint. Photo: Blair Speed


Two works by Layli Long Soldier, one installed on the façade of a former grain storage building at Tinworks and one situated on the concrete slab at the center of the site, on view since their commission for the 2023 Tinworks’ exhibition Invisible Prairie, highlight lines from Long Soldier’s published poems.

Day Poem: Sun Mirrors is a multi-dimensional exploration of Indigenous identity, cultural memory, and the interplay between language and landscape. Her lightbox sculpture, using material reclaimed from a former RV park and café on the Gallatin River, recontextualizes the poet’s experience during her annual solstice trip back to her Lakota homeland to speak more broadly for the diverse communities grappling with the rapid changes of the new American West. At a time when the fertile fields and rolling foothills of the Gallatin Valley around Bozeman are being lost to development and rapid urbanization, Long Soldier’s declaration “I don’t trust nobody but the land” could speak for many of us.

About the Artist

Layli Long Soldier is an artist, poet, and citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation based in Santa Fe, NM. Her poetry blends the power of the written word with visual forms to create deeper meaning, often drawing from historical documents like treaties.

For Tinworks 2023 exhibition, Invisible Prairie, she created her first large-scale sculpture, Day Poem: Sun Mirrors, featuring lines from her 2023 series Night Poems and Day Poems, inspired by Nancy Holt and commissioned by the Holt/Smithson Foundation. Her second outdoor sculpture, I don't trust nobody but the land, made for Tinworks Art in 2023, repurposes a light cabinet from an old RV park. The verse comes from her 2017 poem Steady Summer, part of a collection responding to S.J. Res 14, an apology to Native Peoples by the U.S. government.