INDIANAPOLIS – Five prominent Native American and First Nations artists have been selected for the 2019 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Curator-chosen selections of their work – including installations, paintings, video, and mixed media – will go on exhibit Nov. 16, 2019, at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Each artist receives a $25,000 unrestricted fellowship award, is part of the exhibition, and will be featured in a catalogue. Additionally, works by each Eiteljorg Fellow will be purchased for the museum’s permanent collection.
Selected by a panel of contemporary art experts, the five artists chosen for the 2019 installment of the Eiteljorg Fellowship are:
- Invited Artist: Rita Letendre (Abenaki), a painter from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Matthew Kirk (Navajo), a painter from Queens, New York
- Dyani White Hawk Polk (Sičangu Lakota), a painter and mixed media artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Hannah Claus (Mohawk), an installation and multimedia artist from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Demian DinéYazhí (Diné), a multimedia artist from Portland, Oregon.
“As the Eiteljorg Museum celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2019, we are proud to be stewards of one of the most important collections of contemporary Native art in the world and to showcase fascinating, important works of Indigenous artists whose innovation and creativity have been recognized through the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship,” Eiteljorg Museum President and CEO John Vanausdall said.
“The Eiteljorg has an incredible collection of Native American and Western art, but what really sets it apart from other institutions is the longstanding institutional commitment to Native American contemporary art,” Eiteljorg Vice President and Chief Curatorial Officer Elisa Phelps added. “There are important collections of contemporary Native art in other museums, but the relationships, publications, exhibitions and collection resources that have been developed through the biennial Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship are unparalleled.”
The new exhibition of the fellows’ artwork, Blurring the Lines: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship 2019, opens Nov. 16 in the Eiteljorg’s special exhibitions gallery and continue through Feb. 2, 2020. During opening celebrations in Indianapolis on Nov. 14 to 16, the public will have opportunities to meet the fellows and the museum will host a symposium with the artists to discuss contemporary Native art issues. Also, the Eiteljorg will publish a catalog of scholarly articles and essays providing an in-depth study of each artist.
Selectors for the 2019 class of Eiteljorg Fellows included Brenda Mallory (Cherokee Nation) who was a 2015 fellow, Ryan Steadman, an independent contemporary art curator, and Rebecca Dobkins, curator of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and professor of anthropology and department chair at Willamette University.
The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship in 2019 receives generous support from The Lilly Endowment, Inc. and the Efroymson Family Fund (a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation). Over the years, the Eiteljorg Fellowship has added more than 180 representative works by 50 Native artists to the museum’s permanent collection. Every other year, the museum conducts an exhibition of the work of each class of Eiteljorg Fellows. As part of these efforts, the Eiteljorg Museum co-produced a 2017 documentary film with WFYI Productions about contemporary Native artists, titled Native Art Now! that so far has aired on 169 PBS TV stations; and the museum also published a scholarly art catalogue of the same title in 2017.