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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 ...

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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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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 ...

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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 ...

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Charlotte Townsend-Gault

(b Upsala, Ontario, March 22, 1960).

Native American, Canadian installation and performance artist of Anishinabe descent. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto (1984–6), emerging among newly visible and influential First Nations figures in the arts in Canada whose work focused on the social, political and historical issues associated with their ethnic identity. The period was marked by the acknowledgement of aboriginal rights in the amended 1982 Canadian Constitution and by confrontations, sometimes violent, between indigenous people and the authorities over the nature and extent of those rights. Outrage at the tragic consequences of the historical marginalisation of native people and determination to recover their voice has always informed Belmore’s work. In the iconic Talking to their Mother (1991), which brought her wide attention, she travelled to Native American communities with an enormous, finely crafted wooden megaphone, literally giving people a voice with which to speak to their land....

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....

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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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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 (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 (...

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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 ...

Article

Native American (Kiowa), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1970, on Wind River Reservation (Wyoming).

Beadwork, installation.

Teri Greeves applies beadwork to contemporary objects such as shoes, stilettos and trainers. Her art expresses the contemporaneity of the indigenous experience. Greeves’ reservation upbringing exposed her to bead workers from various tribal backgrounds. She formally trained at University of California–Santa Cruz (BA American Studies, ...

Article

Jenifer P. Borum

(b Dallas, GA, Oct 11, 1928; d Alcoa, TN, Aug 12, 1994).

Sculptor of African American and Native American heritage. Born to Homer and Rosie Mae White, Bessie Ruth White was the seventh of 13 children. She married Charles Harvey at age 14, and moved with him to Buena Vista, GA. She later separated from Harvey and moved to Alcoa, TN, where she settled and raised 11 children as a single mother.

Throughout most of her adult life, Harvey experienced visions that did not engage the dogma of her Christian faith, but rather revealed a powerful divine presence in nature. After the death of her mother in 1974, she began to see faces in the dead branches and roots found in the woods near her home in Aloca, and believed them to be animated by spirits. By adorning these roots and branches with paint, costume jewelry and found materials, Harvey revealed the identity of the spirits locked therein—some Biblical and some lost African ancestors. She understood her role as that of a conduit for divine intelligence, claiming “God is the artist in my work.”...

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 (...

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G. Lola Worthington

(b Wichita, KS, Nov 22, 1954).

Native American (Cheyenne–Arapaho) conceptual and performance artist. Creating ethnic commentary with introspective perceptions and communiqués of contemporary indigenous political frames of context, Heap of Birds demonstrated his analysis of colonized relationships and their aftermath. In his works unspoken rules and relationships between Native Americans and colonizers are deliberately provoked and questioned (see, for example, Day/Night, 1991). He candidly confronts stereotypes and the essential meaning of “Native” identity in legal and colonialist terms.

He earned his BFA at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (1976), and afterwards studied at the Royal College of Art, London (1976–7). In 1979, the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA awarded him an MFA. Early works combined his enthusiasm for juxtaposed graphic images with text on sheet metal. Combining visual and linguistical representations, he offered fresh and provoking political commentary. His works were temporary and retained by a series of noted photographs taken during the performance event. He voiced questions between Native Americans and non-Native Americans about the precarious relationships of ethnic perception in modern day America....

Article

Canadian First Nations (Blood/Kainai), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1953, in Kainai Reserve (Alberta).

Sculptor, installation artist, photographer.

Blackfoot artist Faye HeavyShield received her training at the Alberta College of Art and the University of Calgary (BFA 1986). Her eloquently, sparse aesthetics fall within the tropes of Minimalism, but she favours natural and handmade materials over mass-produced ones. These materials imbue her work with a narrative specificity not usually associated with Minimalism. Drawing on her memories of a traditional upbringing on the Kainai reserve and her education at St Mary’s Catholic School, HeavyShield brings together small repeated, often abstracted, forms to create large sculptures and installations that metaphorically reference the body and landscape. The results are enigmatic works that explore issues of memory, identity and the politics of place. The repetitive dynamic of her work gives it a meditative quality and reminds the viewer that strength is found in ritual and community....

Article

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

Born 9 March 1947, in St. Boniface (Winnipeg).

Painter, sculptor, multimedia and installation artist.

A member of Sandy Bay First Nation, Robert Houle is a Canadian Saulteaux-Ojibwa artist, writer and curator, as well as a survivor of the Sandy Bay Indian Residential School. He received a BA in Art History from University of Manitoba in ...

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Native American (Haudenosaunee/Cattaraugaus, Huron clan), 20th century, male.

Born in 1945, in New York.

Painter, mixed-media artist (acrylics, video/film), paper-maker, curator.

Peter Jemison received his BA in art education from Buffalo State College. His artwork combines contemporary art practices with traditional Native American themes, such as in the Haudenosaunee notion of ...

Article

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

Born 8 June 1947, on Cattaraugus Indian Reservation (New York).

Sculptor, ceramicist, installation artist.

Peter B. Jones was born and raised on the Seneca Indian Reservation at Cattaraugus, New York, where his father’s family lives. He is also descended from the Onondaga Nation on his mother’s side. His work in ceramics has become widely collected and is shown in major exhibitions in North America and abroad. In ...