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Gloria Emerson


Eric and Barbara Dobkin Fellowship

The Indian Arts Research Center is pleased to welcome Gloria Emerson as the Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native American Artist Fellow for 2002. From Shiprock, New Mexico, Gloria is a visual artist and poet. She is deeply committed to her art; this commitment finds root in her observations of the changes she sees in her culture. She says, “I cannot help but observe my people moving from post-colonialism/tribalism into mainstream American ways. The sociological, historical, and cultural contradictions are of interest to me and these are what I paint and write about. I am deeply concerned with the loss of our language and our traditional ways—I know there are many seats of wisdom within our culture, a culture that is rapidly changing. For me, writing and painting are the only means I know to comment on these changes.”

Receiving her BA at University of Denver and her MA in Educational Administration from Harvard University, Gloria originally pursued a career in social work. “I worked for two years in this field and hated it. However, I have used this early academic training in ways that I did not plan,” she says.

Gloria followed with a Certificate of Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, in 1989, and courses in ceramics and sculpture at the San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. “I am not sure when I began painting nor do I understand why—except that it is deeply satisfying and it is the best way to make sociological statements.” Her early training in social work provided a framework for her to view the struggles and movements of her people; her art now provides the vehicle for the expression of her views.

In Santa Fe, Gloria has worked with the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, and with other non-profit organizations in education and the arts. She has a special interest in the field of American Indian aesthetics and is also interested in how landscape translates into art among native people.

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