The boundaries of Native art, particularly contemporary Native art, are shifting. This shifting, like tectonic plates, is exciting to experience because like the forces of Earth, Native art is an energy. This energy is growing, bold and free from confinement. Contemporary Native art does not ignore its origins nor does it exclude. The artists in the 2021 Fellowship epitomize this dynamic shift, taking their mediums beyond a 180 degree-turn, taking them past any boundaries.
Sonny Assu was born in 1975 in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Raised by his grandparents in a suburban setting in North Delta, BC, he did not learn about his Kwakwaka’wakw heritage until he was eight years old.
Catherine Blackburn was born in Patuanak, Saskatchewan in 1984. Blackburn is of Dene and European ancestry and a member of the English River Dene First Nation.
Athena LaTocha was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1969 to a Polish father and a mother from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan.
Steven J. Yazzie was born in Newport Beach, California in 1970. He is a member of the Navajo Nation and a veteran of the Gulf War serving honorably with the United States Marine Corps from 1988-92.
Born in Hominy, Oklahoma in 1951. Anita Fields is a member of the Osage Nation and a descendant of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Fields attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she was exposed to different media including sculpture and clay.