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Acclaimed artists featured at SEASAM


Chickasaw artist Dustin Mater's Pendleton blanket titled "Spring." It is the first blanket produced by Pendleton featuring a southeastern tribal motiff.

TISHOMINGO, Okla. – Eighty-eight premiere Native American artists representing 12 southeastern and woodland tribes will show juried artwork during the Southeastern Art Show and Market Oct. 2-3.

Many are acclaimed artists nationally and internationally while others have captured top honors in Oklahoma's Red Earth Festival and in Santa Fe, New Mexico's Southwestern Association of Indian Artists (SWAIA).

The Southeastern Art Show and Market (SEASAM) is part of the Chickasaw Nation's Annual Meeting and Festival.

Artists from the Five Civilized Tribes – Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, Cherokee and Seminole – are involved as are Native Americans from the Chippewa, Caddo, Creek, Osage, Sac and Fox, Kiowa and Otoe-Missouria tribes.

Several Chickasaw artists with large and faithful fan followings are involved. Among them are:

•Dustin Mater. The Ada, Oklahoma, native's gorgets, shell carvings, Pendleton blanket design, and paintings have been purchased and displayed in Paris, France, the Smithsonian Institute Museum of the American Indian, and Chickasaw Nation.

•Brent Greenwood. The Edmond, Oklahoma, native's brilliant paintings celebrating Chickasaw culture, history and traditions, have won top honors in New Mexico, have been commissioned by Oklahoma City University's Kramer School of Nursing, and claimed "Best in Show" honors in January at the 22nd Annual Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale in Denver.

•Elihu Johnson. The expert weapons maker also has a softer side with exquisite works of art with pencil and paper. His award-winning fine art and weaponry are on display throughout the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada, Gilcrease Museum and Chickasaw Cultural Center.He, too, has been recognized by SWAIA in New Mexico and resides with his family near Cache, Oklahoma, in the Wichita Mountains.

•Towana Spivey. Best known for his tireless efforts to preserve history among many tribal cultures, Spivey fought his own bosses – the U.S. Government – to protect Medicine Bluffs near Lawton. The bluffs are considered sacred for many western tribes. He was curator of Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum. Now retired and living in Duncan, Oklahoma, he and his wife, Phyllis, manufacture magnificent works of art from gourds using all-natural material.

•Daniel Worchester. Worchester is renowned for crafting functional knives which are also stunning works of art. He has taken first place awards in art shows spanning the nation. He was chosen an "Honored One" at the Red Earth Festival, one of the highest honors bestowed upon a Native artist. Worchester calls Ardmore, Oklahoma, home.

•Brenda Kingery. While she is known for her contemporary Native American art throughout the world, Kingery delights to be a part of the Chickasaw Nation Festival and SEASAM. The San Antonio resident sees this annual tradition as a homecoming to her tribe. "It is important to me, coming home to Oklahoma to share with other fine artists," Ms. Kingery said. Kingery's "Rythmes et Couleurs de L'Amerique Indienne" (Rhythms and Colors of Native America) just completed a three-month run at Paris' Orenda Gallery.

•Joanna Underwood-Blackburn. The Sulphur, Oklahoma, native is a potter who is taking the art form to new levels with a vivid imagination while remaining faithful to revered Chickasaw symbols, designs and imagery indicative of the Mississippian Culture. Underwood-Blackburn's unique style is showcased at Oka' Chokmasi, a park west of the Artesian Hotel, replete with the tribe's symbolism and drenched in life-giving water. Oka' Chokmasi means "Beautiful Water" in Chickasaw.

Many noted and award-winning Chickasaw artists will be joining them. Noteworthy artists include Mary Ruth Barnes, primarily acclaimed for her paintings that focus on brilliance and subtlety; newcomer Jim Trosper, whose photography of night skies are wowing art lovers across Oklahoma; Tyra Shackleford, an artist who has won at Red Earth and specializes in textiles and finger weaving; Margaret Roach Wheeler, a weaver, designer and textile expert specializing in traditional Native American clothing, accessories and costumes, whose work has been featured in a variety of galleries as well as books and magazines; Richard Thomas, whose weapons – from elaborate bows to squirrel sticks – have thrilled festivalgoers and been featured in several Chickasaw Nation venues; the husband and wife team of Jeremy and Ashley Wallace. His weapons, drums, blow dart and flute work are compelling while his wife's beading and fashions sparkle.

SEASAM will get underway along North Fisher and Eighth streets bordering the Chickasaw Nation Capitol from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3.


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