Cherokee Art Market
Returning to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for its 13th year, the annual Cherokee Art Market is a time for cultural celebration and connection. The market brings together more than 50 diverse tribes, featuring over 150 of the nation’s most respected artists and influencers in the Native art community. The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 13 and 14 at the Sequoyah Convention Center in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Admission is $5 per person. An opening reception welcoming artists will take place Friday, October 12, at 7 p.m.
“The Cherokee Art Market is one of the most prestigious art shows in Oklahoma. Not only does the show offer a venue for the artists to gather and display their work, it meticulously sets the bar for some of the most advanced Native American Art in and around the United States,” says Cherokee ceramicist and sculptor Troy Jackson. Artists will compete for their share of $75,000 worth of prize money spanning 27 categories. Last year, Jackson won best of class in the pottery category for his piece Bird Effigy.
Cherokee Art Market coordinator Deborah Fritts says that the yearlong preparations for this event come from a place of genuine passion for art and for the creative individuals who make up this vibrant community. “We are always looking for ways to keep our event fresh and exciting,” says Fritts. “This year, I am pleased to say that we will be adding a new cultural demonstration to our schedule and will be welcoming Lane Jenson and family to the Sequoyah Stage to perform hoop dancing.”
Over the two-day event, attendees can browse a variety of artwork, from paintings and photography to basketry and beadwork to diverse art forms like musical instruments. Guests can also observe artists as they demonstrate their craft in jewelry, pottery, hand and loom weaving, and Katsina doll making.
Artists participating in the 2018 market include Tammy Garcia, Ron Honyouti, Emil Her Many Horses, Vivian Garner Cottrell, Alvin Marshall, Jane Osti, Dallin Maybee and many others. And among all artists, one theme remains central to their creative spirits—the desire to honor and represent their heritage.
“As an artist, my work is focused on the working class history of my family. My grandparents were a product of the Great Depression era, and being both Cherokee and European, each were similarly affected by the economics of the United States. The resilience of these two very different families have now become my inspiration,” says Jackson, who creates sculptures with elaborate and ornate carvings.
“My pieces are a little unorthodox in comparison to earlier styles and forms of Native Art, but they certainly relate to the social identity of today’s Cherokee People. Especially when I can incorporate the many the many different materials that are available today,” Jackson explains. “The clay is a more traditional representation of the past and its indigenous qualities while steel and iron structures take on a more modern representation of the progress that has occurred within our immediate culture.”
Self-taught artist and Oklahoma native Linda Kukuk specializes in scratchboard art, employing “various scratching to remove the India ink creating various textures and
values.” Explaining her artistic process, she says, “Then I add watercolor to the places where I’ve scratched, in layers, scratching and adding watercolor, until I am satisfied with the outcome.” For Kukuk art is simple, and rules only impede the flow of creativity. “Someone might say, ‘You should never allow such and such to go off the corner of your painting.’ My question was, ‘Why?’ and ‘Will I get sent to jail if I do it?’ Having no rules in art allows an artist to experiment and try new ideas and processes,” says the Choctaw artist.
Another artist of Choctaw heritage, David Mcelroy explains his artistic vision for both his basketry and jewelry: “My jewelry is a blend of Native-looking pieces and European repoussé techniques.” Because the Choctaw don’t have a particularly strong tradition in jewelry, Mcelroy explains, this allows him a greater sense of freedom in exploring his artistry. He continues, “The Choctaw are renowned for their rivercane baskets. But growing up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in the Tall Grass Prairie region, I’ve adapted traditional basket forms, and I create them with horsehair. For me the baskets represent a blending of my background.”
Last year’s Best of Show was awarded to esteemed Navajo jeweler Ric Charlie for his Navajo Bling bracelet and necklace set, which includes more than 1,700 individually set diamonds. “The Cherokee Art Market provides a national stage for these artists to showcase their work and expand their marketplace,” says Fritts. “As we head into our 13th year, we hope that our event continues to serve Native American art and the talented, dedicated and innovative artists leading this cultural renaissance.”
Eric Kayquaptewa (Hopi), Angry Crow Mother, Hopi Katsina
Alvin Marshall (Navajo), The Warrior, gray alabaster, 13 x 8 x 7½”
Vivian Garner Cottrell (Cherokee National Treasure), Sun Rising Over Our People, natural rivercane and bloodroot dyed rivercane splints, 7 x 8 x 8”
Chase Kahwinhut Earles (Caddo), Batah Kuhu Alligator Gar Effigy Bottle, hand-coiled clay mixed with mussel shell, 12 x 42”
natural clay, turquoise, parrot feathers, 7 x 5½ x 9” Tammy Garcia (Santa Clara Pueblo), Fish and Game, bronze, 8 x 8 x 4”
Autumn Bortsmedlock (Santa Clara Pueblo), Parrot Paradise,