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Canadian First Nations (Oji-Cree), 20th century, female.

Born 28 March 1971, in Yorkton (Saskatchewan).

Installation artist, ceramicist, photographer, sculptor, printmaker.

KC Adams studied at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec, where she received her BFA in Studio Arts in 1998. Her artistic practice was further developed through artists’ residencies in Canada, at institutions in Banff, Charlottetown and Winnipeg. During her ...

Article

Native American (Choctaw), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1959, in Phoenix.

Beadworker, painter, fashion designer, glass artist , performance artist.

Marcus Amerman is a distinguished Choctaw artist who works in a number of media and in performance (as a figure called ‘Buffalo Man’) but is best known for creating his own approach to the Native American tradition of beadworking. Amerman has a BA in Fine Art from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and also studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and the Anthropology Film Center. He lives and works north of Santa Fe. Amerman uses a highly mimetic style in his beadwork to recreate, and hence reclaim, Indian images from history, as in his beaded version of the famous D.F. Barry photograph, ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Inuit), 20th century, female.

Born 1927, in South Ikerasak/Ikerrasak (Baffin Island). Died January 2013.

Sculptor (stone/plaster), engraver, lithographer, watercolourist, draughtsman. Birds and animals.

Kenojuak Ashevak produced some of the most widely recognized and appreciated Inuit art of her generation and due to her success was able to transcend her role as an artist to hold an iconic status within Canadian national consciousness. She began stone-cutting in the 1950s but soon became better known for her skills in drawing and printmaking. Two of her prints were selected to appear on Canadian postage stamps. With several other Cape Dorset Inuit and with the guidance of James Houston, an early promoter of Inuit art, she formed the West Baffin Cooperative Print Studio in ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Inuit), 20th century, female.

Born 1907/1908, in Toojak (Nottingham Island, Nunavut); died 28 May 1983, in Cape Dorset (Nunavut).

Graphic artist (felt pen/crayon/pencil), printmaker (stonecut/etching/copper plate).

Figures domestic scenes and traditional Inuit fables.

Pitseolak Ashoona, a self-taught graphic artist, began drawing the ‘old ways’ of traditional Inuit pre-contact life for the Cape Dorset Artist Co-op (also known as Dorset Fine Art) set up by James Hudson in ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (We Wai Kai/Cape Mudge Band), 21st century, male.

Born 1975, in Richmond (British Columbia).

Painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer.

The aesthetic of Sonny Assu (Liǥwilda’x̱w/Laich-kwil-tach) is a confluence of Northwest Coast formline motifs and popular Western culture. He is well versed in the traditional Kwakwaka’wakw arts of drum, blanket and basket making and uses these as the starting place of many of his artworks. Drawing on a pop sensibility, mass-media culture is used as a conduit to explore and expose these Kwakwaka’wakw traditions as well as the artist’s own mixed heritage. By bringing these seemingly desperate elements together, Assu’s works challenge popular notions of authenticity regarding Indigenous people and their art. Moreover, while the works may appear whimsical at first glance, they offer a sharp critique of Western society’s culture of consumption as it relates to colonisation, both historical and ongoing, in North America....

Article

Native American (Wiyot and Yurok), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Newport (Oregon).

Sculptor, painter, ceramicist, mixed-media artist, print-maker.

Rick Bartow of the Wiyot and Yurok Nations of Northern California works in a number of media to create images which often reference indigenous North American transformation myths. His work with the Maori artist John Bevan Ford has also been an influence. In ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Ojibwa), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1942 or 1943, in M’chigeeng (West Bay), Manitoulin Island. Died 2005, Ottawa.

Draughtsman, painter, ceramicist, installation artist.

Carl Beam, a distinguished Ojibwa artist, was the first Canadian indigenous artist to gain recognition for contemporary Native American art by having one of his pieces accepted into the National Gallery of Art (Ottawa). He achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Victoria, and ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Anishinaabe), 20th century, female.

Born 22 March 1960, in Upsala (Ontario).

Performance artist, installation artist, sculptor, video artist.

Rebecca Belmore was sent from her home to attend high school in Thunder Bay (Ontario), where she was billeted with a non-Aboriginal family. She graduated from the experimental art programme at Toronto’s Ontario College of Art and Design in ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Micmac/Mi’kmaq), 21st century, male.

Born 1986, in Stephenville Crossing (Newfoundland).

Performance artist, installation artist, sculptor, painter.

Jordan Bennett is a multimedia artist born and raised in Newfoundland. In 2008 he received a BA in Fine Arts from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (Corner Brook, Newfoundland), and later continued his education with anthropology and art history courses at the same college. Bennett describes himself as a ‘multi-disciplinary’ artist who liberally mixes visual and intellectual references from his own tribal background, intertribal issues, popular cultures and politics, Bennett conveys with buoyant vitality messages related to Canadian Aboriginal peoples that he feels are hard to communicate to the general public. Bennett’s artistic strategy is a direct engagement with the audience, which aims at stimulating interest and generating curiosity about indigenous issues and concerns such as treaty rights, land rights, cultural change and language loss. Directly engaged in recovering his native language (Micmac), Bennett exploits the multi-layered nature of the linguistic sign to reveal the variety of meanings that symbols can carry in different contexts. His re-fashioning of consumer products such as skateboards, Mac computers, turntables, shoes and surfboards turns mass production into quintessentially indigenous manufacturing that triggers in the viewer questions about authenticity and identity at the core of his artistic project. The indigenisation of commercial objects becomes an act of translation, which turns personal experience into political statements through the potential of objects to become catalysts for intercultural dialogues in public spaces as much as in the art gallery....

Article

Canadian, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active in Montreal, Kingston and Amherstburg.

Born 6 January 1791, in London; died 9 December 1873, in Ste-Mélanie d'Ailleboust (Quebec).

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist. Landscapes, insects, Native American subjects.

William Bent Berczy was the son of the German pioneer and painter William Berczy Moll and Charlotte Berczy who settled in Canada shortly after he was born. Berczy learned painting from his father in Montreal, copying Old Masters and painting the backgrounds for his parents paintings. He served with the Corps of Canadian Chasseurs in ...

Article

Native American (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Nation, Ojibwe), 20th century, female.

Born 1967, in Michigan.

Black ash basket weaver, painter.

Kelly Jean Church received an Associate of Arts degree from the Institute of American Indian Studies in 1996, a Bachelor of Arts degree in painting/sculpture from the University of Michigan in ...

Article

Native American (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Montana.

Printmaker, photographer, conceptual artist, installation artist.

Corwin Clairmont, or ‘Corky’, received his MFA from California State University, Los Angeles in 1971. His early work, concerning social and environmental issues, earned him a Ford Foundation Grant (...

Article

Native American (Maidu), 20th century.

Born February 24, 1902, in Berry Creek (California); died August 13, 1976, in Sacramento.

Painter, indigenous knowledge-keeper.

Born into a Maidu community near Sacramento which gave him knowledge of his indigenous ancestors’ beliefs and traditions, Frank Day, whose father was a leader of the Bald Rock Konkow Maidu, was a self-taught artist. His father’s death in ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Ojibwa), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1952, in Toronto.

Sculptor, performance artist, multimedia artist, installation artist.

A member of the Serpent River First Nation, Bonnie Devine is a Canadian Ojibwa artist, writer and curator. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design in ...

Article

American and Native American (Cherokee), 20th century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 1940, in Arkansas.

Sculptor, sculptor of assemblages, collage artist, installation artist, draughtsman, essayist, and poet.

Jimmie Durham is a critically acclaimed international Native American artist of Cherokee descent whose works often combine humour, found objects, and references to the historical past in sculptural installations that challenge the reigning perceptions of American Indian peoples and their histories. His distinguished career includes participation in five separate Venice Biennales, and examples of his work have been shown widely in Europe and across the globe. He began working as a sculptor in ...

Article

Native American (Okanagan), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1953, in Omak, Washington.

Printmaker, muralist, sculptor, mixed-media artist. Collage, glass.

Born in 1953, Joe Feddersen is an Okanagan member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, and a Native American artist. He earned his BFA at the University of Washington (...

Article

Native American (Nisenan Maidu), 20th century, male.

Born 1946, in Sacramento; died 28 December 2006.

Painter, printmaker, pastel artist.

Harry Fonseca descended from a North Californian indigenous people, the Nisenan Maidu and also has Hawaiian and Portuguese heritage. His paintings of an imaginative Native American-inspired figure of Coyote dressed in modern clothing and carrying out non-traditional activities became iconic of his generation of artists. He began his art training under another Native American California-born artist, Frank LaPena, at Sacramento State College (now CSUS), but left after a short time to pursue his own brand of humorous and idiosyncratic works. His...

Article

Native American (Tlingit and Aleut), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1979, in Sitka (Alaska).

Conceptual artist, performance artist, musician. Installation, video, mixed media.

Nicholas Galanin is a Tlingit and Aleut artist. He received a BA in jewellery design at London Guildhall University (2003), and a MA in Indigenous Visual Arts at Massey University (...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Oneida), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1950, in Oshweken (in Ontario).

Sculptor (stone/bronze/wood). Masks, jewellery.

David General grew up on the Grand River Reserve in Southern Ontario. He worked as a schoolteacher before deciding to become an artist after a trip to the Manitoulin Island Reserve, which inspired him to use visual art to promote his Native American heritage. He is a self-taught artist and briefly worked as a painter before turning exclusively to sculpture in the mid-1970s after meeting Bill Reid. Throughout his career he has been heavily involved in working for First Nations (Native American) rights: he co-founded and chaired the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry (SCANA), has been the coordinator for the Department of Indian Affairs art collection and was an elected representative, and latterly Chief (...

Article

Native American (Choctaw, Cherokee), 20th-21st century, male.

Born 31 March 1972, in Colorado.

Painter, sculptor, mixed-media artist.

Jeffrey Gibson received a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago (1995) and an MFA from the Royal College of Art (1998), which was funded by his tribal group, the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Nation. Since ...