Four Leading Indigenous Artists

Four Leading Indigenous Artists

Meet the powerful women artists uplifting indigenous voices.

Written by
PICTURED ABOVE: Amnía (Echo), 2021, © Wendy Red Star, Courtesy Sargent’s Daughters Gallery.
Meet the powerful women artists uplifting indigenous voices.

Indigenous artists are some of the most powerful voices working to tell non-Eurocentric histories. In recent decades, these artists have been given their due moment as they convey the complex themes of oppression, colonization, violence and other socio-cultural messages through visual narratives that communicate more than words alone. Wendy Red Star's Amnia, shown above, expresses the struggle that Native American girls have had as they live between two worlds and search for a stable identity. Her work is an impactful reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by indigenous women and girls.

Wendy Red Star

Wendy Red Star @wendyredstar is an indigenous interdisciplinary artist and activist telling the stories of Native cultures. Through her photographs and artworks, Red Star aims to increase the representation of Native American histories in their truth through humor and surrealism. She encourages conversation around decolonization, race, and identity by creating pieces that people can connect to through the humor. The surrealistic style serves as a vessel of revealing the pasts of Native culture masked by those who wished to profit on their histories.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 • Wendy Red Star was born in Montana as a member of the Crow (Apsáalooke) Tribe and raised on the reservation. Her powerful works address the identity and romanticized ideal of Native American people. Each piece is brilliantly informed by Red Star’s culture heritage, her knowledge of multiple mediums, as well as her intense research of archives and historical narratives. ⁣

Red Star (b.1981) has exhibited internationally, throughout the US—her artworks gracing the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; and the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO. ⁣

Wendy Red Star and Beatrice Red Star Fletcher, 𝘈𝘱𝘴á𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘦 𝘍𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵 #𝟸, 2016

Cara Romero

Cara Romero (b. 1977, Inglewood, CA) is a contemporary fine art photographer. Romero is an enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe and grew up splitting her time between the Chemehuevi reservation and Houston, Texas. Shaped by her dichotomous upbringing, this contrasting sense of identity informs her photographic style: a blend of fine art and editorial photography.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 • How she takes on the role of cultural narrator with a signature style that is editorial and supernatural, fusing together past, present and future. Using contemporary photography techniques, bright colors and theatrical compositions, Romero illuminates Indigenous worldviews breathes new life into the Native American female perspective.

3 Sisters, Limited Edition Archival Fine Art Photograph. Printed by the artist on Legacy Platine paper. Image courtesy of the artist.

Rose B. Simpson

Rose B. Simpson is a mixed-media artist from Santa Clara Pueblo, NM. Her work includes ceramic sculpture, metals, fashion, performance, music, installation, writing, and custom cars- all created to culturally engage the audience.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 • The way she uses art mediums as healing tools to express and relieve the pain she has endured as a result of her experience as a Native American woman. She engages these tools as “sculptural pieces of art that function in the psychological, emotional, social, cultural, spiritual, intellectual and physical realms. The intention of these tools is to cure, therefore, my hope is that they become hard-working utilitarian concepts.”

Heights I (original), 2022, Clay, glaze, twine and silver.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (b. 1940) is a Native American abstract artist who has been exploring themes of personal and political identity since the 70’s in a way that is deeply personal and complex, and yet identifiable and understandable to any viewer. She effortlessly combines personal and cultural history with art history, blending old and new views and appropriated imagery in a way that is both complex and simple-resulting in a visual language that is truly her own.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 • She is an OG. A highly respected woman of the Salish community, whose nickname “quick-to-see” suggests her innate ability to define the world around her in a way that makes us eager to listen. As critic Gerrit Henry, (Art in America, 2001) writes: “For all the primal nature of her origins, Smith adeptly takes on contemporary American society in her paintings, drawings and prints, looking at things Native and national through bifocals of the old and the new, the sacred and the profane, the divine and the witty.”

War is Heck, 2002, Lithograph with chine collé

#indigenouspeoplesday #indigenous #art #indigenousartists


Subscribe to our weekly update.