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Article

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 (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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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 (...

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....

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

Born 1950, in Orange (California).

Performance artist, installation artist, video artist, photographer.

Among the most productive Native American artists of the 20th century, James Luna has won many prizes and international acknowledgements for his provocative work in which performance art, installation, video and photography seamlessly merge with incisive power and wit. Luna studied painting at the University of California Irvine (BFA, ...

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Canadian First Nations (Cree), 21st century, male.

Born 1965, in St Mary’s (Ontario).

Painter, filmmaker, installation artist, performance artist.

Kent Monkman’s eclectic career as an artist began with his study of illustration in 1986 at Sheridan College (Oakville, Ontario). He subsequently refined his training in various colleges in the United States and Canada, among which are the Banff Center in Alberta (...

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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 ...

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Native American (Tuscarora), 20th century, female.

Born 1956, in Sanborn (New York).

Photographer, installation artist, curator, and professor.

Jolene Rickard received her BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, an MS from Buffalo State College and her doctorate from the University of Buffalo. Rickard is particularly interested in the transfer of Native oral traditions and cultural knowledge both on and off the reservation. Her art installations and photographs reference her Haudenosaunee/Tuscarora heritage and the importance of teaching and learning in the Native community. In the exhibit ...

Article

Native American (Muscogee Creek/Seminole and Diné/Navajo), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1954, in Phoenix.

Photographer, filmmaker. Video, collage.

Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie is a member of the Bear and Raccoon Clans of the Seminole and Muscogee Nations, as passed down from her mother. Her Diné/Navajo father, Andrew Van Tsinajinnie (b. ...