Cherokee National Holiday Art Show showcases a variety of Native art

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
09/07/2018 12:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee-Pawnee artist Daniel HorseChief stands next to his oil painting that won Best In Show at the annual Cherokee National Holiday Art Show held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in Tahlequah. The piece, titled “Grandmothers,” pays tribute to grandmothers and other women in Native families. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Tyler Ray won first place in the Youth 1-8 age group at the annual Cherokee National Holiday Art Show held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in Tahlequah. His award-winning gourd art piece, titled “How the Milky Way Came to Be” depicts the Cherokee story of how the Milky Way was formed. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Artist and Cherokee Nation citizen Brandi Brown of Stilwell won honorable mention for an outfit she sewed titled, “Weave Your Own Path” but was chosen by the Chief Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden for their Adult Choice Awards at the annual Cherokee National Holiday Art Show held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in Tahlequah. The piece is powwow regalia made with Cherokee flair and sold at the art show. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Young Cherokee potter Tanner Williams, 14, of Broken Arrow won the Youth 14-18 category with his pottery piece titled, “Fluttering Beauty.” Principal Chief Bill John Baker also appreciated his pottery and chose it for his Youth Chief’s Choice Award, as did Speaker of the Tribal Council Joe Byrd who also chose the pot for his Youth Choice Award. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Ramona Lossie of Cherokee, North Carolina, won first place for her double-weave, river cane “Story Basket” and second place for her maple, single-weave “Never-Ending Friendship” basket in the Basket Category at the annual Cherokee National Holiday Art Show held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in Tahlequah. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – The armory building in downtown Tahlequah showcased Native art of all types for three days during the Cherokee Nation Holiday.

The Best In Show winner at this year’s Cherokee National Holiday Art Show held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 was Cherokee-Pawnee artist Daniel HorseChief of Sallisaw who won with his 30 x 40-inch oil painting titled, “Grandmothers.”

“I wanted to pay tribute to all of the women, not just in my life, but in general, our mothers, grandmothers and sisters and aunts and everybody that does so much. They’re giving us so much that sometimes we take it for granted. I wanted people to see something visual to remind them how special that is, those gifts they give to us,” he said. “I was wanting to create something like a visual song, to kind of put music in people’s heads when they look at it. Everything is intertwined and interlinked even the smallest things. The colors and everything are about love.”

Seven-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen Tyler Ray of Sand Springs said his “nan” or grandmother helped make his award-winning gourd art piece, which is titled “How the Milky Way Came to Be.” He won first place in the Youth 1-8 age group.

“We did the corn falling out the sky first and then the stars,” he said.

The gourd is painted mostly black and depicts the Cherokee story of a dog that fell from the sky and landed near basket of cornmeal and began to eat great mouthfuls of it. The people chased the dog away to a hilltop where he leaped into the sky and the cornmeal spilled from the sides of his mouth, which made a pathway across the sky. Each grain of cornmeal became a star. The Cherokees call that pattern of stars, “the place where the dog ran,” and that is how the Milky Way came to be.

Ray said it took two days to make the piece and this was the second time he has won at the holiday art show by entering gourd art. He said he plans to keep making art and entering his art into shows, and eventually he wants to paint and draw pictures.

Artist and Cherokee Nation citizen Brandi Brown of Stilwell won honorable mention for an outfit she sewed titled, “Weave Your Own Path” but was chosen by Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden for their Adult Choice Awards.

Explaining her entry, Brown said she grew up “powwowing” with her grandfather and she wanted something that would represent being Cherokee that she could still dance in at powwows to “just show she is proud of where she comes from.”

“I did the traditional wrap skirt with, of course, embellished ribbons because we all love our ribbon work, and then I did the wolf paw print because that’s my clan. I did these colors because our family wears them on all of our regalia, so it’s kind of our family colors,” she said.

To go with the outfit, she added a bandolier bag, moccasins and a belt to match and added a shawl without fringe, which is usually seen with women’s powwow regalia. She worked on the outfit for a “solid” month, she said, and even added matching earrings to go with the outfit.

She added she had planned to wear the colorful outfit but a buyer purchased it at the art show.

“I was my own model. I made it to fit me,” she said. “It’s a great honor to win all of these awards here, and I’m just thankful that everybody liked my stuff.”

Cherokee Nation citizen Tanner Williams, 14, of Broken Arrow won the Youth 14-18 category with his pottery piece titled, “Fluttering Beauty.” Principal Chief Bill John Baker also appreciated his pottery and chose it for his Youth Chief’s Choice Award.

Williams said his winning, coil-built pot was kiln fired and also fired using pine needles, which “makes beautiful black streaks across” the pot that look like burn marks. He has entered the art show before has won before.

“I’ve won many times. I get nervous at every art show,” he said. “It’s (pottery) fun because you can mold clay into anything that you can imagine.”

Williams said he has been making pottery for six years. Speaker of the Tribal Council Joe Byrd also chose Williams’ “Fluttering Beauty” pot for his youth choice award.

Ramona Lossie, 54, of Cherokee, North Carolina, won first place for her double-weave, river cane “Story Basket” and second place for her maple, single-weave “Never-Ending Friendship” basket in the Basket Category. Last year she won best of show at the Cherokee National Holiday Art Show with one of her baskets.

“My first time entering here was last year. I was like, if I can do that, I can do some more, so it just kind of inspired me to keep going,” she said.

She added she likes the competition with the other artists and the inspiration she gets from other artists to do more and work harder on her baskets.

“I see a lot of really, really great work, and I get to meet them (artists), which is even better. We talk a little bit and share a lot of things,” Lossie said.

She said she learned basketry from her mother and grandmother, and she is passing down that knowledge to her two daughters.

Click here to read the complete list of winners.
About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He e ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He e ...

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