October 14, 2006

Contemporary artists struggle

Contemporary American Indian artists struggle for attention in a market focused on tradition"While a handful of artists of native descent have achieved national and international recognition, Indian artists have largely been ignored by the power brokers of the art world," says Marjorie Devon, director of the Tamarind Institute, a center for fine art lithography within the University of New Mexico Department of Fine Arts.

The snub has been felt most deeply by contemporary Indian artists trying to break out and define their work beyond traditional culture. They've struggled against strong preconceptions to show there is more than one kind of Indian art and that being an Indian artist can mean many things.
One artist's epiphany:Deo has fought those generalizations much of his life. He drew horses growing up in Tulsa, Okla., influenced by the painterly style of Jerome Tiger. Deo moved to Santa Fe in 1989 to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts.

"While there, I had a revelation," he says. "I was painting Plains Indian-type stuff - you get caught up in the market in Santa Fe. I was painting this Indian man shooting a buffalo, and, for some reason, I felt I needed to be more connected to my work. I didn't feel I was connected to that image.

"I grew up on horses, but I never shot a buffalo. I had never really seen a buffalo. I started asking myself a lot of questions. A teacher, Craig Anderson, nurtured me. He said `If you feel you need integrity, that's how you should paint.'"
Note:  The following drawing is by Patrick Rolo (Bad River Chippewa).


by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw said...

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Rob said...

Thanks for the info. I'll check it out.