Traditional Arts

Teri Greeves

Posted November 16, 2016

Santa Fe, NM

Enrolled with the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Teri Greeves began beading at eight years old. After growing up on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming where her mother ran a trading post, she eventually graduated from UC Santa Cruz. Greeves began her career as a beadwork artist after winning Best of Show at Santa Fe Indian Market in 1999. She has won awards and honors at Indian Market, the Heard Museum and in 2003, she received the Dobkin Fellow at the School of American Research.  In 2009 she was featured in the PBS television series, Craft in America and her work has been exhibited in Changing Hands 2 at the Museum of Art and Design; at the Brooklyn Art Museum’s Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains, in State of the Art at the Crystal Bridges Museum, and most recently included in Native Fashion Now at the Peabody Essex Museum.  Greeves’ work is also included in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the British Museum, the Heard Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design and the Portland Art Museum among others. Greeves lives with her husband and two sons in Santa Fe, NM.

Cherice Harrison-Nelson

Posted November 16, 2016

New Orleans, LA

Cherice Harrison-Nelson is steeped in a West African rooted ceremonial dress art tradition, unique to African American communities in New Orleans. She is the third of five generations in her family to participate in the cultural legacy passed down from her late father, Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. She is the co-founder and curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame. Currently, the organization is working to protect intellectual property rights through the, “You Get Paid, I Get Paid” mutual respect and fair use campaign. The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has published four books and curated numerous exhibitions. She has served as a visiting scholar at Newcomb College Institute of Tulane and is the recipient of numerous honors including a Fulbright scholarship to Ghana and Senegal. Her original creations are held in the private collections of Jonathan Demme (Academy award-winning director – Silence of the Lambs), Wole Soyinka (first African Nobel Prize Laureate for literature) among others. Her production credits include:  DVD documentaries, a music CD, three original plays, and the award winning narrative film, “Keeper of the Flame.”  She holds a MA in education from Xavier University.

Ernie Marsh

Posted November 16, 2016

Lovell, WY

Ernie Marsh has been a Bit & Spur maker and silversmith for the last 26 years. Born in 1962 in Mt. View California, his interest in horses, the American west and the cowboy lifestyle goes back to his early childhood. He pursued every opportunity to be able to ride and work with horses doing all forms of jobs to earn that experience. His other interests included art, pencil drawing and wood sculpture. It was taking a job as a working ranch cowboy that sparked his interest in the fancy tools of the cowboy trade, the silver bits and spurs. His hardworking background includes ranching, rodeo competition, and timber falling. He has pursued his artwork since 1990 with the same required intensity and desire to learn, master skills and improve his pieces. In 1998 he had the honor of being selected as a founding member of The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association. Since then he has exhibited his work annually at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Ok., this has lead to opportunities to teach others through seminars and classes as well as one on one mentorships at his own shop in Wyoming.

Vicky Holt Takamine

Posted November 16, 2016

Aiea, HI

Vicky Holt Takamine is a renowned kumu hula (master teacher of Hawaiian dance). She is recognized as a native Hawaiian leader for role as an advocate for social justice issues, the protection of native Hawaiian rights, and the natural and cultural resources of Hawai‘i. In 1975, Vicky graduated as a kumu hula from hula master Maiki Aiu Lake.  Vicky established her own hālau, Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima, (school of Hawaiian dance) in 1977 and has been teaching hula for the past 39 years. Vicky and her students have performed nationally and internationally.  Vicky earned her BA & MA in dance ethnology from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.  In addition to teaching at her own school, Vicky was a lecturer at UH Manoa and Leeward Community College for more than 35 years. 
In 2001, Vicky established a non-profit organization, PA’I Foundation, to serve the needs of her Hawaiian community and those who make Hawai’i their home.  Vicky serves as the executive director of PA’I.  Under her leadership, PA’I is partnering with First Peoples Fund, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and Alternate Roots to develop leadership and networking opportunities for artists through the Intercultural Leadership Institute.

Kathleen Carlo-Kendall

Posted November 10, 2015

Fairbanks, AK

I was born in Tanana, Alaska and spent my early years living in the Yukon River. My parents, Bill and Poldine Carlo, moved our family from the villages to Fairbanks in order to keep my eight siblings together rather than to send the older ones away to boarding school. While growing up, our family mined for gold and fished in the summers.  

In the late 1970’s I joined the Native Art Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where I studied under Ron Senungetuk, a revered Alaska Native carver. My first show was of carved masks made during my BFA program. After graduation I focused on panels and larger sculptures which provided greater opportunities to explore abstract forms in wood in combination with metal, paint and found objects. I have supported myself through commissions, major museum purchases, and from teaching traditional mask making in Alaska’s villages. Rural teaching has been most gratifying because I find inspiration in the students and their pride in their artwork.

Shan Goshorn

Posted November 10, 2015

Tulsa, OK

Eastern Band Cherokee Shan Goshorn is a multi-media artist proficient in multiple genres but she deliberately strives to choose the medium that best expresses a statement. A long time human rights activist, her recent work consists of traditionally inspired, political baskets that tie historical events to contemporary issues unique to native people.

As a self-taught weaver, she credits the many generations of basket makers before her for inspiring and informing her work. Additionally, she recognizes her 2013 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship as dramatically influencing her exploration into basketry/conceptual sculpture. Motivated by the objects and paper documents found there, she weaves images and words into her baskets that represent how historical decisions are still impacting native people today.

Shan is an active member of the inter-tribal community in Oklahoma where she has lived since 1981 but maintains a strong relationship with her tribe in North Carolina, returning several times throughout the year. She is the recipient of a 2013 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, 2013 SARF, 2013 SWAIA Discovery Fellowship and a 2014 Native Arts and Culture fellowship. Her work is in prestigious collections including (selected): the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC), Denver Art Museum (CO), Nordamerika Native Museum (Switzerland), The Surgut Museum of Art (Russia), Gilcrease Museum (OK), Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (IN), Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (NM), Heard Museum (AZ), Montclair Art Museum (NJ) and Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MN).

Da-ka-xeen Mehner

Posted November 10, 2015

Fairbanks, AK

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska to a Tlingit/N’ishga Mother and Hippy/American father his work stems from an examination of a multicultural heritage and social expectations and definitions. Da-ka-xeen was raised in two environments, one as an urban Native in Anchorage and the other as a rural Hippy in Fairbanks living without electricity, running water or phones, and heating the house with a wood stove. In particular his work has focused on the constructs of Native American identity, and an attempt to define the Self outside of these constructs. He uses the materials and tools of his family to express himself. From the steel and concrete of his Labor Union father, to the crook knife and cedar of his Alaska Native ancestors, 

Da-ka-xeen received his A.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and his B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico. From 1994-2000 Mehner served as the founder and director of Site 21/21, a contemporary art gallery in Albuquerque, NM, and was a founding member/owner of the (Fort) 105 Art Studios in downtown Albuquerque in 1998. Da-ka-xeen returned to Alaska in 2000 and earned his M.F.A in Native Arts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2007.  

He currently live in Fairbanks Alaska with his wife Maya, and son Keet. Da-ka-xeen is an Associate Professor of Native Arts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and director of the UAF Native Arts Center. 

Diego Romero

Posted November 10, 2015

Santa Fe, NM

Firmly positioning his work within an Indigenous visuality, Diego Romero has built a career constructing ceramic vessels that elevate Pueblo life to Olympian stature. A third generation professional artist, Romero was born and raised in Berkeley, California to a Cochiti father and a non-Native mother. Upon completing high school, he returned to ancestral Pueblo lands and attended the Institute of American Indian Arts, before subsequently attaining degrees from Otis College of Art and Design (BFA) and University of California, Los Angeles (MFA). 

Since earning an MFA in 1993, Romero has developed an extensive exhibition record with works housed in significant public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cartier Foundation, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the British Museum, and the Scottish National Museum. 

Working in a narrative style that evokes pre-contact Mimbres pottery, as well as Greek amphorae (two-handled vases) and Anasazi ceramics, Romero’s earthenware bowls and handled-vessels investigate the marginalized status of Indigenous history and society. Evoking the anti-colonial writing of Frantz Fanon, who believes that “the native intellectual who wishes to create an authentic work of art realize[s] that the truths of a nation are in the first place its realities,” Romero states that instead of using Indigenous “tradition” as insulated from historical change, he consciously evokes “the historic as a point of departure to reinterpret the contemporary.” By using historically situated oral traditions as source material, Romero departs visually from the canonical work of Pueblo pottery and instead relies heavily on a narrative style gleaned from comic books and popular culture, specters of a childhood spent mingling in comic book stores. The resulting composition transcends the materiality of the object and engages the viewer in humorous interplay in which the author’s overt anti-colonial content is seen as non-threatening to audiences and collectors. The confrontational and subversive nature of the work is commonly overlooked in lieu of Romero’s excellent craftsmanship and artistry. 

Merging autobiography with narratives of contemporary Indian life and stories of Pueblo resistance to colonial violence, Romero elevates Pueblo and contemporary Indian narratives to the level of the superhero, devices he draws from Greek pottery and comics. When placed into an autobiographical context, his ceramic practice develops further layers of nuance and complexity. This investigatory nature of simultaneously inserting biographical material while interrogating the cross-sections of Indian life enables Romero to transcend the commonly provincial status of contemporary Indian art.

Sidonka Wadina

Posted November 10, 2015

Lyons, WI

Egg decorator, straw weaver and folk painter Sidonka Wadina is a Slovak master folk artist deeply influenced by her Slovakian roots. Raised in the Slovakian community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she first learned to decorate eggs and weave straw designs from her grandmother for the annual Holiday Folk Fair, for which she has demonstrated and participated for 58 years.

Deeply committed to teaching and preserving the legacy passed down to her, her dedication has taken her to Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary and Poland where she conducted master classes in straw weaving to insure that the transmission of this tradition crosses both generations and borders.

Wadina, a National Endowment for the Arts 2015 Heritage Fellow, has participated in the Wisconsin Arts Board’s Folk Arts Apprentice Program since the 1990’s, has demonstrated at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival and the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial where her work graced the covers of their brochures. Her straw ornaments have decorated the White House Christmas trees of Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and three of Wisconsin’s past governors.

She has taught classes and exhibited at the National Czech & Slovak Museum in Cedar rapids, the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Washington D.C. and is currently a folk art instructor at the Kenosha, Wisconsin Public Museum.

Ms. Wadina is General Chairwoman of the Slovak ethnic group and President of the National Association of Wheat Weavers.  Sidonka graduatedfrom Gateway Technical College with a degree in Graphic Design Technologies in 2007 and has written and illustrated a Slovak Recipes book.

Mary Louise Defender Wilson

Posted November 10, 2015

Flasher, ND

The great drought covered the plains states and it was into this world that Mary Louise Defender was born October 14, 1930 on the allotment of her maternal grandfather, See the Bear. Grass was sparse and water came from springs feeding into the creek. Cattle could not survive so sheep, who forage better, were bought and herded. See the Bear was born in 1845 and his sister in law, Mrs. Runs in the Center, born in 1860, with the help of two Indian dogs were the herders. When Mary Louise was able to walk without help she went along and thought she was herding. While walking, her grandfather would talk to her about the land features and the plants. Telling of a wondrous mystical happening at a site, how the people learned from that event which helped them live in a better way. One of the plant stories was about the prairie turnip. It has a very long root and the roots are braided and the turnips are hung to dry for winter use. This was learned from the young woman who came from the sky a long, long time ago. And when one digs for turnips they appear to be as numerous as the stars. 

Helen Margaret See the Bear Defender was an only child whose parents resisted United States government efforts to remove her from home to a boarding school. She was left a widow when Mary Louise was two years old. Remembering her mother as a tall, strong and wise woman with many abilities, who could run the mower to cut the few blades of grass, rake, sew clothes, cook, deliver babies, tell her stories and read to her, it appeared that she was superwoman. The midwife was the one who put the spirit into the baby when it took its first breath and Mary Louise, sometimes, went along in the wagon with her mother. The midwife knew how to put the spirit into the new human and also knew how to help the spirit leave at death. Mary Louise was always told to play far away from the dwelling where either was taking place. During these rides her mother would point out interesting things and tell her the history/story connected to whatever it was. 

During her many years, Mary Louise has told her stories at the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian and many places throughout the United States and abroad. The recognition and many awards she has received humbles and strengthens her and she never forgets and gives thanks to the people in her early life and the many she has worked with throughout the years. In June, 2015, she was part of the North Dakota Council on the Arts, Art for Life Program, at the Prince of Peace Care Center and Ever Green Place in Ellendale, ND. Also the Daughters of the American Revolution presented her with their Women in American History Award, September, 2015.