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:

02 May 2011

"Kanutche Dogs: Contemporary Cherokee Art" at Firegod Gallery, Opens Friday, May 6th

Image: detail of Commodity, Roy Boney
Albuquerque, NM — Eleven Cherokee artists will participate in an upcoming group art show at the Firegod Gallery, 3413 Central Ave, NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106.

An opening reception will take place Friday, May 6th, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public. The show will run through May 31st.

On Saturday, May 7th, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm, computer animation and claymation videos in the Cherokee language by Roy Boney, Jr. and Joseph Erb will be displays, following by question and answer period about using art to preserve tribal languages. This lecture is also free and open to everyone.

Artist America Meredith will present a two-part presentation, free and open to the public, about Cherokee art history from precontact times to the present, on Saturday, May 28th, from 2:00 – 4:00pm.

The Cherokee tribe is an enigma. Over 800,000 people claimed Cherokee descent on the 2010 US Census; however, very few people are familiar with Cherokee culture or arts. Of the 300,000 actually enrolled in of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, only about 10,000 people speak the Cherokee language–mostly in Oklahoma and North Carolina. Only an estimated 500 Cherokee people participate regularly in stomp dances, the traditional expression of Cherokee religion, at the seven ceremonial grounds in Northeastern Oklahoma.

This show hopes to share culturally-informed contemporary Cherokee art with the general public and Cherokee people in New Mexico. New Mexico has such a large Cherokee population that it is home to the Southwest Cherokee Township, a satellite community of the Cherokee Nation.

The show’s title comes from a folk term, Kanutche Dogs, for the America dingo or Carolina dog, the indigenous dog of the American southeast that has been an important part of Cherokee society. “Kanutche” (pronounced kah-NUH-chee) is a traditional Cherokee food made from hickory nuts.
  • Roy Boney, Jr. (Cherokee Nation), from Locust Grove, Oklahoma, is a painter, illustrator, digital artist, and computer animator, who uses the Cherokee language extensively in his work. He also created a series of zombie comics for Slave Labor Graphics.
  • Ross Chaney (Cherokee Nation/Osage Nation), from Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an emerging expressionist painter and draftsperson.
  • Joseph Erb (Cherokee Nation), from Gore, Oklahoma, is a painter, digital artist, and computer animator, working to preserve the Cherokee language. Mixing new and old technology, Joseph also paints on gourds, an ancient Cherokee art media, and uses imagery from the Booger Dance, a masked dance unique to the Cherokee people.
  • Lara Evans, PhD. (Cherokee Nation) is an experimental photographer and painter, as well as a professor of Native art history at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Her work was recently published in Art in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in Dialogue.
  • Fran Hill is a contemporary ceramic artist from Albuquerque, who is an active member in the Southwest Cherokee Township.
  • Daniel Horsechief (Cherokee Nation-Pawnee) is a bronze sculptor, wood carver, and painter from Sallisaw, Oklahoma. He is an alumnus of the Institute of American Indian Arts.
  • America Meredith (Cherokee Nation) is a painter and printmaker from Santa Fe, who is also an IAIA alumna. She will exhibit her recent experiments in fumage (smoke art).
  • Mary Beth Nelson (Cherokee Nation) is a painter specializing in wildlife. She lives in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
  • Lisa Rutherford (Cherokee Nation) of Tahlequah, Oklahoma specializes in southeastern beadwork and ceramics, but is also experimenting with traditional featherwork clothing. She showed at SWAIA’s Indian Market for the first time in 2010 and won an award for ceramics.
  • Sean Ross (Eastern Band Cherokee) from Cherokee North Carolina combines humor, social commentary, and Cherokee culture in his paintings.
  • Arlo Starr (NTA Cherokee-descent), a painter, currently lives in Albuquerque but was active in the development of the Squirrel Ridge Ceremonial Ground in Kenwood, Oklahoma. He worked with Cherokee elders to create a healthy cookbook based on traditional foods.
Firegod Gallery specializes in quality and innovative contemporary Native American art. It is owned by Silvester Hustito (Zuni), an artist and curator.