In the entire bookstore within the Museum of Modern Art in New York, there is only one book that dealt with Native American art. That's the situation we're in as contemporary artists. Those words were spoken by Truman Lowe (Ho-Chunk), an artist and curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. They sum up the reasons why he continues to be a part of the Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art: The world of modern art doesn't recognize fine art made by indigenous people.
In only its second presentation, the biennial Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art awards $20,000 to each of five artists chosen by a panel of respected selectors and to a master artist named by the Eiteljorg Museum. The program includes a major exhibition of work by the artists, purchases of their art for the Eiteljorg's permanent collection, and a benchmark publication for international distribution.
The program is funded in part by a $490,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The exhibition of the artists' work, After the Storm: The Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art 2001, opens Nov. 10 with a gala awards ceremony and dinner. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) is the keynote speaker.
This year's Fellowship recipients are:
ˇ Rick Bartow (Yurok/Mad River Band), South Beach, Ore., USA
ˇ Joe Feddersen (Colville Confederated Tribes), Lacey, Wash., USA
ˇTeresa Marshall (Mi'kmaq), Millbrook Reserve, Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada
ˇ Shelley Niro (Bay of Quinte Mohawk), Brantford, Ontario, Canada
ˇ Susie Silook (Siberian Yupik/Inupiaq), Anchorage, Alaska, USA
The master artist is the late Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache), Fort Sill, Okla., USA.
Native American artists have made and continue to make important contributions to the world of fine art, said John Vanausdall, president and CEO of the Eiteljorg Museum. The Eiteljorg Fellowship program allows us to bring these contributions to the public's attention and reward the artists in some measure for their dedication.
The Eiteljorg Fellowship promotes and encourages personal creativity, and introduces our art to a broader audience, said Lowe, who was awarded an Eiteljorg Fellowship in 1999. It is the only national award being given to Native artists working in contemporary fine art.
To complement the exhibition, the Eiteljorg Museum and the University of Washington Press have published a catalogue of essays by the selectors and photographs of artworks by the Fellows and the master artist. The catalogue will contribute to the body of literature about Native American fine art. To order, call (800) 878-7978.
Winged Spirit by Susie Silook
Ivory, seal whiskers, sinew, 1994
10 x 2 x 2 ˝
Courtesy of Cathy Rasmuson