Rebecca Belmore

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Born in Upsala, Ontario, in 1960. Lives and works in Winnipeg.
Since the late 1980s, the work of Anishinabe artist Rebecca Belmore has pivoted on a highly charged balance between the personal and the political, addressing history, place, trauma and memory. Her performance-based practice often incorporates elements of sculpture, installation and video, positioning the artist’s body and voice as trenchant counterpoints to stereotypes about First Nations people and highlighting unresolved burdens of social justice. Among her best-known works is 1991′s Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother, a massive megaphone that toured from Parliament Hill to First Nations territories across the country, and was created in response to the Oka crisis. Also well known is The Named and the Unnamed (2002), a multi-part installation that commemorates women missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In 2005, Belmore was the first Aboriginal woman to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale. Her work has also been featured at the the Havana Biennial and Biennale of Sydney, among other national and international venues. Belmore is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the 2009 Hnatyshyn Award.

Gordon Van Wert

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Synthesizing over 40 years of experience, centuries of Ojibwe art traditions and modern sculpting techniques, Gordon Van Wert is a recognized master in his field. A former student of Allan Houser at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, Van Wert has risen to his own notoriety and accolades. His Ojibwe art sculptures are much sought after pieces. Many of them are held in museums and the private collections of notable collectors including Robert Redford, Kurt Russel and Ted Danson.

Beginning in the 1970's, Van Wert has sculpted hundreds of pieces over the years, developing his technique and style. Despite a stroke in the early 2000's, Van Wert continues to create exemplary pieces of Ojibwe art. After the stroke he used his sculpting as therapy, adapting his techniques to include a pneumatic chisel and learning to be mildly ambidextrous.

Through his sculpting, Gordon Van Wert keeps Ojibwe art and Native American traditions alive and relevant. Please enjoy the extensive gallery you find on this site, as well as the video profiles on Van Wert.

Da-ka-xeen Mehner

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07 MFA in Native Arts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
03 BFA in Studio Arts from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
92 AA from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe New Mexico.

11/07 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award
8/07 Alaska Native Arts Foundation CAPS Grant
10/06 Gutsy Artist Award for “Weapon of Oil” in the 64th Parallel Juried show

Mixed Medium: Fairbanks Artist's Work Fuses Contrasting Materials, Experiences and Messages from the Anchorage Daily News
Search for Cultural Identity Leads to Art

Brian Jungen

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Brian Jungen (born in Fort St. John, British Columbia April 29, 1970) is a Canadian artist from British Columbia with Swiss and Dunne-za First Nations ancestry. He graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1992 and is based in Vancouver.

I think that Jungen's "Prototypes of New Understanding" are an amazing piece of contemporary Native art. From the artist: "It was interesting to see how by simply manipulating the Air Jordan shoes you could evoke specific cultural traditions whilst simultaneously amplifying the process of cultural corruption and assimilation. The Nike mask sculptures seemed to articulate a paradoxical relationship between a consumerist artefact and an 'authentic' native artifact."

Brian Jungen's work exemplifies many of the syntheses and contradictions in contemporary First Nations art in a beautiful, humorous and accessible way, and we're going to enrich this page significantly over time with interviews, video and images to help share this work with more people.

Roxanne Swentzell

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I was born in 1962 to Ralph and Rina Swentzell in Taos, New Mexico. My mother is native American form Santa Clara Pueblo and my father is of German descent. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico traveling up and down the Rio Grande River from Taos, Santa Clara and Santa Fe,..staying close to my mother's side of the family. I ended up building a home on the reservation of Santa Clara Pueblo in Northern New Mexico, where I reside today.

As a young child, I found it hard to communicate through language and turned easily to expressing myself through art insteade. This way of communicating became my life. I took to sculpting the human figure because it showed the most direct way of expressing my human emotions. These emotions became my language and I soon found out that it was a language that was universal. It has been a very uplifting feeling that people from anywhere in the world can look at my work and understand it.

Marie Watt

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Marie Watt is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Born in 1967 to the son of Wyoming ranchers and a daughter of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation (Iroquois / Haudenosaunee) Watt identifies herself as "half Cowboy and half Indian." Formally, her work draws from indigenous design principles, oral tradition, personal experience, and Western art history. Her approach to art-making is shaped by the proto-feminism of Iroquois matrilineal custom, political work by Native artists in the 60s, a discourse on multiculturalism, as well as Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Like Jasper Johns, she interested in "things that the mind already knows." Unlike the Pop artists, she uses a vocabulary of natural materials (stone, cornhusks, wool, cedar) and forms (blankets, pillows, bridges) that are universal to human experience (though not uniquely American) and noncommercial in character.

Rose B. Simpson

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"My expression is a boil-over of soul, a reflection provoking evolution.
By processing what is very personal, I may present a predicament, suspend disbelief, or explore an alternative in order to harmonize with humanity. I am continually refining; hoping to instigate healing by revealing a truth that makes sense to any intuition."

“i don’t want unexplained anger, i don’t want unexplained fear, i don’t want unexplained hope, i don’t want unexplained heartbreak, i want the raw TRUTH."

Susie Silook

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Susie Silook is a Yupik/Inupiaq writer, carver, and sculptor. The ancestral ivory dolls of Saint Lawrence, traditionally carved by men, are the basis of her work. While she works in the traditional media of ivory and whalebone, her themes are the contemporary issues confronting Native Alaskans, particularly women, with a specific focus on violence against Native women. Silook also departs from tradition by depicting women in her carvings rather than the animals most commonly rendered by men. A.C.

Lillian Pitt

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"Regardless of the medium, my work directly relates to and honors my ancestors, my people, the environment and the animals. This maintains my link with tradition and acknowledges the many contributions my ancestors have made to this world."

"I use the ancient stories of my ancestors as a basis for the imagery I create. By doing this I maintain the memory of an ancient culture and keep the beliefs of my people alive. We have forgotten how to live in harmony with nature. Accessing this vast reservoir of traditional information and translating it into contemporary terms jogs our memories and provides points of reference to achieving balance within ourselves, our community and the world. My ancestors have a 10,000-year history in the Columbia River Gorge. Much of my work has to do with the preservation and care of the environment along this ancient waterway."

Susan Point

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Susan Point, of Coast Salish descent, began her artistic career with studies at Vancouver Community College, British Columbia; and has continued to expand her repertoire to include studies in engraving, metallurgy, metal deformation, printmaking, painting, papermaking, and more. A prolific artist, Point has been the focus of many solo exhibitions in Canada and the United States. Among the sites for the many public commissions she has been awarded are Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia, and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

"In creating a visual piece of art, it is my hands, my heart, and my soul that is involved, all working together within a language that knows no words."

"Although most of my earlier work is very traditional, over these last years I have emerged with a language of design both authentic yet vibrantly contemporary; expressing my own personal style, however, I still incorporate my ancestral design elements into my work to keep it uniquely Salish."

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