Encyclopedia of Native American Artists

Encyclopedia of Native American Artists

Encyclopedia of Native American Artists

Encyclopedia of Native American Artists

Synopsis

Indigenous North Americans have continuously made important contributions to the field of art in the U.S. and Canada, yet have been severely under-recognized and under-represented. Native artists work in diverse media, some of which are considered art (sculpture, painting, photography), while others have been considered craft (works on cloth, basketry, ceramics).Some artists feel strongly about working from a position as a Native artist, while others prefer to produce art not connected to a particular cultural tradition. This volume examines the lives and works of approximately 70 Native American artists, demonstrating the range of media, themes, and experiences of Native artists, and their influences on and by western culture. Eight pages of color plates, and black and white images throughout, display the diversity of work by these artists.

Excerpt

All artworks are collective in that the people who create them come from particular times and places, and inevitably respond to what has preceded them. This volume is part of a series that highlights art made by people in the United States and Canada whose ancestry is non-Euro-American. Indigenous North Americans have made important contributions to the field of art for centuries, yet have been severely under-recognized and under-represented. This book seeks to make information about a diverse selection of Native artists and their work accessible to a broad audience.

When approaching the work of almost any indigenous people, it is essential to recognize one’s own cultural biases—in terms of aesthetic sensitivity, as well as interpretation of data. The authors are not Native, and it is inevitable that our positions as non-Native art critic and anthropologist influence our discussions of the artists’ work. Together, however, we have spent more than four decades working with, researching, and writing about Native peoples (in North and South America), and both of us have been trained extensively in the fine arts. Everett has written primarily about painting, sculpture, and installations, and Zorn about the fiber arts, though both have trained in, and have researched, and written about other media as well. We believe that our varied yet complementary perspectives have made this volume stronger.

The majority of the biographies present original research about the artists and their works. Although it has not always been possible to speak directly with the artists or their families, much of the information here has been gleaned from personal interviews and studio visits, as well as study of museum collections, and viewings of exhibitions. It has been a privilege and a delight to speak with these gifted individuals about their lives, as well as to view many of their works firsthand. Additional material has been gathered from a wide variety of print and Internet sources.

It is our hope that readers will want to learn more about these striking artists and to seek out their work. At the same time, we want to remind our audience that museums and galleries do not display their entire inventory at one time. When planning a visit, it may be best to call ahead to ensure that work by the artist in question is accessible.

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