09 May 2011

Blood of the Sun: Artists Respond to the Poetry of Suzan Shown Harjo, opening May 13

Red King Ghidorah, Melissa and Marlon Melero
Santa Fe, NM — The powerful poetry of Susan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne-Holdulgee Muscogee) will be celebrated and explored by visual artists in a unique exhibit, Blood of the Sun: Artists Respond to the Poetry of Suzan Shown Harjo, opening Friday, May 13, 2011 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Ahalenia Studios (1422 Second Street) in Santa Fe. Harjo will attend the opening. She made her first appearance at Ahalenia Studios to read poetry created for the Freedom of Information: The FBI, Indian Country, and Surveillance exhibit.
Blood of the Sun will remain on display until Sunday, May 22, 2011. An installation and performance piece created by artist DeCoy Gallery (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache) will occur at both the opening and closing receptions. The closing reception will be Sunday, May 22nd, 2:00 pm—4:00 pm.

Harjo is a poet, curator, and likely the most influential policy maker in Indian Country today. She has helped Native nations to regain ownership and control of over one million acres of ancestral lands. She also has been involved in drafting and securing the passage of key legislation to promote and protect Native nations, sovereignty, children, arts, cultures, languages, and sacred spaces, as well at the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act, 1989 National Museum of the American Indian Act, 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the 1996 Executive Order on Indian Sacred Sites. She served on the Native American Policy Committee for Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign and as an advisor to the Transition in 2008-2009.

Suzan Shown Harjo, photo by Lucy Fowler Williams
President of the Morning Star Institute, a national Native rights organization founded in 1984 for Native peoples' traditional and cultural advocacy, arts promotion and research, Harjo was one of seven prominent Native people who filed the 1992 landmark case, Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc., against the disparaging name of the Washington professional football team. She has been a featured guest twice on the Oprah Winfrey Show and has been profiled and her work included in myriad broadcasts, newpapers, magazines, and books. On May 13, 2011, she will receive an honorary doctorate degree for a lifetime of advocacy and contributions to Native American arts, cultures, and rights from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

"It's an honor to be associated with such extraordinary artists," said Harjo. "Many of these artists have inspired my created and policy works for years. I look forward to the interpretations of and commentary on my poetry by these diplomats, resisters, and catalysts in the arts." Both emerging and internationally exhibited artists will be a part of Blood of the Sun, each responding to a poem or phrase of Harjo's in order to create a finished piece.

Participating artists include:
• Marcus Amerman (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)
• David Bradley (White Earth Ojibwe)
• Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Chippewa Indians)
• Anita Fields (Osage Nation)
• DeCoy Gallery (Chiricahua Apache)
• John Hagen (Aleut-Iñupiaq)
• Bob Haozous (Chiricahua Apache)
• Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne-Arapaho)
• April Holder (Sac and Fox-Tonkawa-Wichita)
• Kenneth Johnson (Muscogee-Seminole)
• Linda Lomahaftewa (Hopi-Choctaw)
• Marlon Melero (Reno-Spark Paiute-Modoc-Tlingit-Haida)
• Melissa Melero (Fallon Paiute-Modoc)
• America Meredith (Cherokee Nation)
• Diego Romero (Cochiti Pueblo)
• Mateo Romero (Cochiti Pueblo)
• Hoka Skenandore (Oneida-La Jolla Luiseño-Oglala Lakota)
• Dr. John Torres-Nez (Diné)
• Richard Ray Whitman (Yuchi-Muscogee Creek)
• Brandon Williams (Diné)

Daily viewing hours for the exhibit vary. Please email for an appointment.

By Staci Golar (Welsh-American)

Art show website:


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