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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

Arthur Silberman

Begay was a prolific artist for over 50 years, and his work is familiar through paintings, book illustrations and screenprints, making him perhaps the best-known contemporary Native American painter. In 1934 he entered the Santa Fe Indian School (see Native North American art, §IV, 2...

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

G. Lola Worthington

Native American (Navajo) painter. His mother recognized his artistic talents early on and strongly encouraged and cultivated his creative genius by enrolling him at the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham, UT, where he was a student of Chiricahua painter and sculptor, Allan Houser (...

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

G. Lola Worthington

Native American (Navajo) painter. Also known as Hashke-yil-e-dale, Dodge was the son of Bitanny Dodge and grandson of Chee Dodge, the first Navajo Tribal Chairman, who raised him and sent him to Bacone College, Muskogee, OK, and the University of New Mexico, where Dodge earned a degree in anthropology 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 (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

W. Jackson Rushing III

Native American painter, printmaker and sculptor of Maidu, Hawaiian and Portuguese ancestry. Raised in Northern California, Fonseca studied at Sacramento City College and at California State University at Sacramento with Wintu artist Frank LaPena (b 1937). A leading figure in the national network of contemporary native artists that formed in the early to mid-1970s, Fonseca received the Best of Show Award in the ...

Article

Native American (Diné/Navajo), 20st century, male.

Born 1932, in Chinle (Arizona); died 2005, in Albuquerque.

Painter, sculptor, lithographer.

Navajo painter and sculptor R. C. Gorman was one of Native North America’s most influential artists of the 20th century. Owing his great commercial success to a deceptively simple style, Gorman was among those who marked through their art the transition between the so-called ‘Traditional painting’ and the generation of ‘New Indian Painters’. Deeply influencing numerous indigenous and Euro-American artists alike, Gorman contributed to the popularisation of Southwestern motifs, themes and aesthetics, establishing a clearly identifiable genre that makes economic use of lines and volumes....

Article

Arthur Silberman

Native American Navajo painter, printmaker and sculptor. After attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he majored in literature and minored in art, he received a scholarship in 1958 from the Navajo Tribal Council to study art at Mexico City College. He also studied at San Francisco State University and at other California institutions. The style that he developed stemmed from his experiences in Mexico and reveals the influence of his teachers as well as that of the Mexican muralists. He maintained a studio and gallery for his own works and those of other Native American artists in Taos, NM. While Gorman has handled such subject-matter as interpretations of Navajo rugs and pottery designs, his most successful and best-received works have been his studies of Navajo women. He portrayed them as archetypes; as monumental, nurturing ‘earth mothers’. He grouped women in conventional poses or engaged in domestic pursuits, ranging from stolid affirmations to revelations of inner beauty and grace. He used various media, sometimes painting and drawing in acrylics, pastels and pencil in the same work. He worked out personal technical processes and used these with great effectiveness. His style is well-suited to lithographs, which he has produced in great number. He has also produced sculptures....

Article

Native American (Eastern Band of Cherokee), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1957, in Baltimore.

Multimedia artist, photographer, illustrator, basket-weaver with paper.

Shan Goshorn, given the Cherokee Wolf Clan name of Yellow Moon, began training in silversmithing at the Cleveland Institute of Art and transferred to the Atlanta College of Art for her final year, receiving a BFA degree in painting and photography (double major) in ...

Article

Native American (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1 April 1943, in Los Angeles.

Sculptor, painter, printmaker, jewellery maker.

The Chiricahua Apache artist Bob Haozous, son of the well-known Apache sculptor Allan Houser (Haozous is the indigenous name which became Houser when anglicised), is a noted figure in his own right, having the distinction of contributing work to two Venice Biennales (...

Article

Frederick J. Dockstader and Nika Elder

Native American Pueblo painter of Santa Clara, NM. Her father was Herbert O. Hardin, an Anglo, and her mother was the Pueblo painter Pablita Velarde. She attended high school in Albuquerque, NM, and was awarded an Indian Art project scholarship in 1960, which influenced her decision to turn to art as a career. By the late 1960s she had developed a highly successful style. She worked in acrylics, casein, pen and ink, and just before her untimely death, of cancer, she had begun a series of etchings. After leaving Santa Clara Pueblo she lived most of her life in Española, NM. She had a brief marriage to Pat Terrazas, which ended in divorce, and later married ...

Article

Native American (Santa Clara Pueblo), 20th century, female.

Born 1943, in Albuquerque; died 1984.

Painter, etcher.

Helen Hardin, daughter of distinguished Santa Clara Pueblo artist Pablita Velarde, grew up in Santa Clara but moved to Albuquerque as a teenager. Her first language was Tewa and she inherited a strong visual tradition from her Native American ancestors. She was one of the first Native women artists to combine in her works interests in an indigenous past with contemporary concerns in art. She studied art history and anthropology at the University of New Mexico and briefly trained in weaving and textile design before moving to painting and works on paper. Hardin was of the 1960s generation of young Indian artists such as Fritz Scholder and Michael Kabotie who questioned the dominance of the Southwestern style of Indian arts initiated in the early decades of the 20th century. Her early death at age 41 from breast cancer cut short what is still considered an exceptional and successful career. Hardin’s work continues to be much sought after and examples can be found in a number of important collections in the United States and abroad. She shares recognition with her mother and her daughter, Margarete Bagshaw, who is also an artist, in a museum dedicated to all three artists in Santa Fe....