Judges name winners of Artesian Online Art Market competition

This article appeared in the July 2021 edition of the Chickasaw Times

Chickasaws among top artists

Artesian Online Art Market judges have finalized their decisions and announced winners in this year’s competition now posted at ArtesianArtsFestival.com. The online market will be open to the public for viewing and purchasing all submitted competition and non-competition art until Aug. 2.

This year’s lineup of winning artists represents 11 different First American tribes, including Anishinaabe-Lakota, Caddo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Kiowa, Muscogee, Navajo, Seminole, Oglala Lakota and Seneca.

“We are always so impressed with the level of talent participating in our market,” Chickasaw Nation director of visual arts, media and design James Wallace said. “It’s an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to share these works of art,”

Competition categories included drawing, graphic arts, mixed media, painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture, textiles, 3-D diverse, beadwork/quillwork, pottery, traditional dress & regalia, weaponry, and cultural diverse.

Judges are art professionals and include non-competing artists, arts educators, museum and gallery professionals, and cultural experts.

“Combined, these judges have several decades’ worth of knowledge and experience,” Mr. Wallace said. “We are proud to have them assess the wonderful competition entries.”

Judges selected one piece as Best in Show. The 14 categories each received first place winners. In addition, 15 artists received judges’ awards.

Best in Show

Monica Jo Raphael’s creation “Nuh-Mah-Nuh Daawina Akin” or “The Homelands of the Comanche People,” a beadwork and quillwork piece, was named Best in Show.

Ms. Raphael is an enrolled member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, born to the Ginew (Golden Eagle) clan of the Anishinaabek. She specializes in quillwork, beadwork and birchbark art.

The artist utilized woodland porcupine quillwork on birch bark to create the purse using a needle awl, tweezers and small scissors.

Traditionally, the Anishinaabe used the flora and fauna of the woodlands of the Great Lakes as design inspiration. Ms. Raphael said she was inspired by the flora and fauna of where she makes her home in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma and the homelands of the Comanche people.

The purse depicts a colorful medley of plants and animals with a white, orange and yellow bird attracting attention at the center. Tassels hanging from the purse spread out into complimenting colors compared to the creatures they frame. The background of tan birch bark helps the wildlife images come alive.

Ms. Raphael used materials including spring birch bark harvested on the Lake Michigan shoreline, artist-harvested porcupine quills washed and dyed using plants, food and commercial dyes, traditional brain tanned smoked deer hide finished with size 13 vintage and 24K gold Czech charlotte cut beads, antique black 6 mm fire polished beads, antique brass thimbles, brass hawk bells and dyed horsehair.

She traditionally harvested, processed and prepared the all-natural materials for the piece.

Quickly mastering both the flora and fauna designs for which her family was known, Ms. Raphael has excelled in more complex designs while combining traditional techniques with bright modern colors creating a modern twist to a timeless art form.

For fans interested in Raphael’s other creations, she also submitted multiple pairs of earrings, a bracelet and shakers. More of her work can be found at MonicaJoRaphael.com.

Category winners

Abby Gaines of the Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation placed first in the drawing category with “Rose Shields-Jefferson, Chickasaw Elder.”

Amy Gantt of the Chickasaw Nation placed first in the graphic arts category with “Sun Circles I.”

Michael Billie of the Navajo Nation placed first in the mixed media category with “Dancing for Rain.”

Brenda Kingery of the Chickasaw Nation placed first in the painting category with “Moving through Green.”

Jim Trosper of the Chickasaw Nation placed first in the photography category with “Graze.”

E. Dee Tabor of the Chickasaw Nation placed first in the jewelry category with “Heritage.”

Kelton Cloud of the Choctaw Nation placed first in the sculpture category with “Deer Basket.”

Dalvay of the Cherokee Nation placed first in the textiles category with “Toothpick Joshua Tree Jumpsuit.”

Tony A. Tiger of the Muscogee and Seminole Nations placed first in the 3-D diverse category with “Community Arbor: Safe to Speak Mvskoke.”

Vivian Cottrell of the Cherokee Nation placed first in the baskets category with “We Are Still Here.”

Deana Ward of the Choctaw Nation placed first in the beadwork/quillwork category with “Governor Kev.”

Chase Kahwinhut Earles of the Caddo Nation placed first in the pottery category with “dii Ah-ah di’ah: The Father.”

Kiowa Taryole of the Kiowa Tribe placed first in the traditional dress and regalia category with “Season of Life.”

J. Daniel Worcester of the Chickasaw Nation placed first in the weaponry category with “Melting Moon.”

Sandy Fife Wilson of the Muscogee Nation placed first in the cultural diverse category with “Cetto Mekko.”

Judges’ awards

Artists who received judges’ awards include: Chickasaw Beverly Callahan, Cherokee Toneh Chuleewah, Chickasaw Michael Cornelius, Caddo A. Wayne “Tay Sha” Earles, Caddo Yonavea Hawkins, Cherokee Beth Hazen, Choctaw Ted Lex Lawrence, Seminole Sheena Logan, Northern Arapaho and Seneca Dallin Maybee, Chickasaw Cotie Poe-Underwood, Cherokee Donnie Poindexter, Oglala Lakota Osceola Red Shirt, Chickasaw Tyra Shackleford, Cherokee Julie Thornton-Brison and Chickasaw Margaret Roach-Wheeler.

About the Artesian Arts Festival

The 2021 Arts Market is an art show, market and competition featuring fine art from over 120 First American artists representing tribes from across the nation.

The market is an online extension of what would normally be a full weekend festival hosted by the Chickasaw Nation amid the natural splendor of Sulphur and the Arbuckle Mountains: the Artesian Arts Festival.

It is a celebration of all forms of art with an emphasis on First American art and artists.

Artists 18 and older from any federally-recognized tribes compete in a juried competition in many categories. The festival features diverse art media and a variety of visual art including paintings, basketry, jewelry, sculpture, metalworking, beadwork, textiles and pottery.

More information can be found at ArtesianArtsFestival.com or by calling (580) 272-5520.