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Art in Our Lives

Native Women Artists in Dialogue

Edited by Cynthia Chavez Lamar and Sherry Farrell Racette with Lara Evans

Art in Our Lives grew out of the conversations of a group of Native women artists who spoke frankly about the roles, responsibilities, and commitments in their lives while balancing this existence with their art practice. Finding common ground, they started out as a small group of six that eventually grew to eleven who ranged in age from seventy to twenty-seven with backgrounds as diverse as their ages. Together they recognized their experiences, acknowledging that what they shared was not unique to them since other Native women artists could speak to similar life realities. How often such experiences were actually shared became the larger issue. The topics these women thoughtfully discussed resulted in this book at the initiation of the artists, some of whom also contributed essays.

The artists participated in three seminars at SAR in 2007–2008 culminating in a one-day exhibition with an artist panel discussion at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe. Diverse in media and content, their artworks are featured as plates in this volume along with the artist statements that accompanied the pieces in the exhibition. The women of Art in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in Dialogue

The chapters in this book reflect some of the seminars’ common threads such as home/place, transgression/boundaries, art as healing/art as struggle, pain/joy, art practice/work, and survival/colonization.

Publication of this book was made possible by the generous support of the Anne Ray Charitable Trust and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. The Anne Ray Charitable Trust also supported the seminars on which this publication is based.

2010. 152 pp., 12 color plates, 83 illustrations, activity section, 2 appendices, notes, references, 8.5 x 10

Contributors: Cynthia Chavez Lamar, Gloria J. Emerson, Lara Evans, Elysia Poon, Sherry Farrell Racette

Download an excerpt.

“Art in Our Lives…focuses on the interplay of tradition and contemporary influence…among a group of artists in what the participants term community seminars….A continuing theme…is a questioning of the role of the spiritual in art….It is obvious…that these artists draw strength from their varied but deeply personal relationships to tradition and contemporary day-to-day experience….This book functions as an aid to all people to better understand the interconnectedness and complications of contemporary life without losing the important central focus on a particular group of artists.”
—R. K. Dickson, The Bloomsbury Review, Winter 2010/2011

  1. Introduction: The Art, Gender, and Community Seminars
    Cynthia Chavez Lamar
  2. Art as Healing, Art as Struggle
    Gloria J. Emerson
  3. “This Fierce Love”: Gender, Women, and Art Making
    Sherry Farrell Racette
  4. Space, Memory, Landscape: Women in Native Art History
    Elysia Poon
  5. Crossing the Boundaries of Home and Art
    Lara Evans
  6. The Artists of the Art, Gender, and Community Seminars

There are no working papers for this book at the present time.

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