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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 (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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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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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 (...

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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 ...

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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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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....

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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 (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 ...

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Canadian First Nations (Dunne-Zaa/Beaver), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1970, in Fort St. John (British Columbia).

Sculpture, painting, graphic art, mixed media, installation art.

Born in rural British Columbia in 1970, Jungen was actively interested in drawing as a child. Both his mother (Dunne-Zaa) and father (Swiss-Canadian) died when he was young. After high school, he moved to Vancouver and completed a Diploma in Visual Art at Emily Carr College of Art in ...

Article

Clint Burnham

(b Fort St John, BC, April 29, 1970).

First Nations (aboriginal) sculptor. Jungen’s work uses consumer products refashioned into sculptures and installations that comment on the relationships between native design, commodity production, and popular culture. Born of a Dunne-za mother and Swiss father, he attended the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver in the early 1990s, there coming into contact with the artist-run centre scene that became an important part of his creative milieu.

Jungen’s first series of works that attracted international attention was the Prototype for New Understanding (1999–2005; see Prototype for New Understanding #23, 2005), 23 sculptures for which he cut up Nike Air Jordan sneakers and made them into simulacra of West Coast tribal masks and displayed them in vitrines. The importance of this series is manifold: it references youth culture of the 1980s and 1990s with its fixation on expensive sportswear and the signifiers of hiphop; it connects that commodification to the trade in tribal masks over the previous century, a trade that saw native carvers in the Pacific Northwest making masks for a global collecting and museum market; and, finally, it relates design elements of the Nike sneakers—not only the trademark ‘swoosh’ but also the eyelets, soles, and the colour schemes—to traditional native carving practice. So the Nike swoosh becomes part of an ovoid (the signature graphic feature of Haida—Northwest Coast—art), or, the top of the sneaker becomes a mouth, as seen in ...

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Native American (Inupiaq/Athabascan), 21st century, female.

Born 1969, in Bethal (Alaska).

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, installation artist.

Inupiaq/Athabascan artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs holds a BFA from the University of Alaska–Fairbanks (1998) and an MFA from Arizona State University (1992). In 2007 she was awarded an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art. Her work is included in the collections of the Anchorage Museum, Alaska State Museum, University of Alaska Museum of the North and Eiteljorg Museum....

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Native American (Ho-Chunk), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1944, in Black River Falls (Wisconsin).

Sculptor, installation artist.

Truman Lowe was raised on the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) reservation in Wisconsin. His early interest in art making turned into a full academic career after receiving an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in ...

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

Born 1953, in Buffalo (New York).

Sculptor, video artist, installation artist.

Alan Michelson is an American Mohawk artist and writer of Six Nations ancestry. He received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in ...

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

Born 1974, in Montreal.

Multimedia artist, sculptor, installation artist.

Nadia Myre is a Canadian Algonquin artist and a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg. She received a Fine Art Associate Degree from Camosun College in 1995, a BFA from Emily Carr School of Art in ...

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Canadian First Nations (Kwakwaka’wakw), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1969, in Comox (British Columbia).

Conceptual artist, installation artist, sculptor.

Marianne Nicolson is a Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations artist and intellectual. In 1996 she graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and went on to earn an MFA from the University of Victoria in ...

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Native American (Gordon First Nation), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1953, in Regina (Saskatchewan).

Sculptor, painter, draughtsman, installation artist, performance artist.

A highly regarded figure in the field of First Nations/Native American contemporary art in Canada, Edward Poitras was the first indigenous artist to gain the distinction of representing his country at the Venice Biennale in ...