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Article

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 (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

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

Martine Reid

(b Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC, Nov 4, 1946).

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 Bill Reid, who offered him workshop space in Vancouver. There Davidson developed new carving skills and learnt the fundamentals of the two-dimensional (‘formline’) designs used by the Haida and other tribes of the northern Northwest Coast (see Native North American art, §III, 2). In 1969 he returned to Masset to carve a 12.2 m-high totem pole, the first heraldic column to be raised on the Queen Charlotte Islands since the end of the 19th century. In 1987 Davidson and his crew produced a set of three totem poles entitled Three Variations on Killer Whale Myths for the Pepsicola Sculptural Garden in Purchase, NY. In these totem poles Davidson worked within the strict conventions of the Haida style, refining it by introducing subtle variations in design but preserving a degree of conservative austerity in which movement and individual expression are sacrificed to overall unity of form. In his early work in silver Davidson used flat patterns influenced by Edenshaw, and he went on to develop these into an innovative style of his own in screenprints, silver and bronze. Davidson’s younger brother, ...

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

W. Jackson Rushing III

(b Sacramento, CA, Jan 5, 1946; d Santa Fe, NM, Dec 28, 2006).

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 Indian Art Now exhibition at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Sante Fe, NM, in 1979. Many honors followed, including the Allan Houser Memorial Award and an Eiteljorg Museum Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, both in 2005. Inspired by mythology, pictography and modernism, he explored oral history, media imagery and popular culture through figuration and abstraction.

Fonseca’s earliest imagery transformed indigenous designs and material culture. His Maidu Creation Story (1977) was the first of several treatments (1991, 2006) of subject matter based on the teachings of his uncle, Henry Azbill. The quiet, folkish elegance and pristine primitivism of his drawings for the anthology ...

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....