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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

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 ...

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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 ...

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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 (...

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Martine Reid

Native American Haida sculptor, metalworker, printmaker and blanket-maker. He was the grandson of the Haida blanket- and basket-maker Florence Davidson (1895–1993), and great-grandson of the Haida wood-carver Charles Edenshaw. He began carving argillite as a teenager in Masset, and in 1966 he met ...

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 (...

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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...

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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

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....

Article

Native American (Cheyenne and Arapaho), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 22 November, 1954, in Wichita (Kansas).

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, printmaker, installation artist, conceptual artist, educator.

Edgar Heap of Birds is one of the most distinguished North American indigenous artists of his generation. His works reveal a distinctly critical and historical awareness of the ways that American Indian peoples, their histories and their viewpoints have been ignored and written over under colonialism. He has received numerous honours, presenting his work in competition for the United States Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (...

Article

Native American (Yanktonai Dakota), 20th century, male.

Born 13 May 1915, in Joe Creek, Crow Creek Sioux Reservation (South Dakota); died 7 October 1983.

Painter, mural artist.

Often seen as a major figure in pushing forward a more contemporary style of Native American painting in the 1950s and 1960s, Oscar Howe’s treatment of Dakota themes in linear and often swirling formal patterns is both true to Dakota aesthetics and remains popular and widely reproduced today. Howe was born on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and received the forced assimilation of the period at Pierre Indian School. His talent for art was recognised and in 1933 he was sent to Santa Fe to study at the Indian Art Studios (later the Institute of American Indian Arts) headed by Dr Dorothy Dunn. He was sent to Sill Indian Art Center in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1940 to study mural painting under a WPA-sponsored project and later received an MFA from the University of Oklahoma in 1954. The recipient of several honours during his lifetime, he taught as Professor of Art at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, for many years until his death in 1983. Major public works by Howe include decorative panels for the Corn Palace in Mitchell (South Dakota, 1948 to 1971) and murals for the dome of the Carnegie Resource Center, Mitchell (1940)....

Article

Native American (Wintu-Nomtipom/Tenai), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 5 October 1937, in San Francisco.

Artist, poet, writer, traditional dancer.

Frank LaPena, of the Wintu-Nomtipom/Tenai of Northern California, is a key figure, along with a number of other important Native artists working in California during the 1970s, in what has been termed a ‘Renaissance’ in California Indian arts. Many of LaPena’s artworks engage directly with his awareness of California Indian experience and memory. He has used Mount Shasta significantly as a source of inspiration. As was usual for his generation, he attended a federal Indian boarding school (in Stewart, Nevada) and experienced its harsh assimilationist doctrines. He began to be interested in the arts during high school and this developed further during his undergraduate years at California State University, Chico. Later earning a teaching credential at San Francisco State University and a Masters of Arts degree at CSU, Sacramento, he would eventually teach at the latter as Professor of Art and Ethnic Studies. He has said that he learnt more from his California Indian elders than anything presented to him in the state education system. Now retired, he continues to hold leadership roles in the arts both locally and nationally....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

Native American (Maidu–Wintu) painter, printmaker, photographer, writer, educator, traditional dancer and poet. LaPena, also known as Tauhindauli, spent time with the Nomtipom Wintu and other regional neighboring elders to conserve and regain traditional cultural practices. He was taught traditional tribal songs, dances and ceremonial rituals of Northern California Native American culture that inspired his interest in reviving and preserving Northern California tribal culture and accompanying performance arts. His work, along with Frank Day (...

Article

Native American (Seneca and Tuscarora), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1942, in Oshweken (Ontario).

Artist, educator, writer, curator.

George Longfish is a distinguished and internationally respected artist whose works often blend humour with a note of irony to draw attention to the problems of representation and stereotypic formulations found in many images and beliefs concerning American Indians. This is shown most effectively in the work ...