The face of hope

A new exhibit that features the face of hope on the Pine Ridge Reservation has taken up residency at the Sioux Falls Airport.

Called the “Lakota Voice Project,” the exhibit features photos taken by hundreds of Native American children expressing their impression of the concept “Hope.”

The idea for the project evolved from a collaboration between the Black Hills South Dakota chapter of the American Advertising Federation and Oglala Lakota College business students.

In the fall of 2011, project organizers handed 200 disposable cameras to Lakota children and asked them photograph what hope looked like to them.

“Hope became an anthem of positivity to combat the feelings that often lead to suicide” on the reservation, said Jason Alley of the Lakota Voice Project. “The photos served as a reminder of the many things that bring us happiness in our daily lives.”

Nearly 2,700 photos later, organizers were stunned.

"The overwhelmingly positive response and interest in the project has been amazing," Alley said. “What started as a grassroots advertising and social media campaign to battle youth suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation has grown into an awareness campaign that has reached an audience the world over.”

The Lakota Voice Project in the FSD Galerie will be on display at the airport for the next several months and is sponsored by Media One Advertising/Marketing.