INDIANAPOLIS – Five Native American and First Nations artists have been selected for the 2021 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowships.

Innovative paintings, prints, mixed media and installations by the artists will be on exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art beginning in November 2021.

Each artist receives a $25,000 unrestricted grant, and the museum expects to purchase more than $100,000 of their artworks to add to its collection of contemporary Native American art, considered one of the best such collections in the world.


The five artists chosen for the 2021 round of the Eiteljorg Fellowship are: 

• Anita Fields (Osage), of Stillwater, Oklahoma, who is nationally recognized for her ceramic art and mixed media works. One of her ceramic pieces, “Opposites Attract,” is on view in the exhibition, “Powerful Women: Contemporary Art from the Eiteljorg Collection.”

• Sonny Assu (Ligwilda’xw Kwakwaka’wakw) of Campbell River, British Columbia, a painter, printmaker and installation artist whose work appears in museums in Canada.

• Catherine Blackburn (English River First Nation Dene) of Thornhill, British Columbia, a multidisciplinary artist, designer and jeweler whose work includes fashion, installation and mixed media.

• Athena LaTocha (Húŋkpapȟa Lakota) of Brooklyn, New York, who creates large landscape paintings.

• Steven Yazzie (Navajo) of Denver, a painter who creates video and installations, and has received numerous awards.  

“Since 1999, the Eiteljorg Fellowship has helped bring Native contemporary art to the forefront, casting a spotlight on the works of leading Native and First Nations artists. The 2021 class of Eiteljorg Fellows is an exceptional group who have created intriguing works across a variety of disciplines – works that museum guests will want to experience. The Fellows’ work underscores the vitality, imagination and innovation in today’s Indigenous art, and will encourage dialogue about contemporary art,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said.

The five artists for the 2021 round – the 11th round of the Fellowship overall – were recently selected by a panel of three art experts during a virtual adjudication.

Every other year, the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship provides grants to each new class of five artists to support their continuing efforts in the art field. A public exhibition of the 2021 Fellows’ work is scheduled open Nov. 13 and will continue until spring 2022 at the Eiteljorg. On the opening day, plans call for the artists to lead a guided tour of the gallery, followed by a scholarly panel discussion at the museum. Other public programs are planned during the run of the show. Depending on public health requirements in effect at the time, the Eiteljorg will offer virtual options on its Fellowship website, contemporaryartfellowship.eiteljorg.org. The museum will publish an art catalogue featuring essays about each of the 2021 artists, and will purchase some of their works to add to its own collections.