By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Shan Goshorn is an artist who thinks outside of the box…or rather, she thinks outside of the basket. The EBCI tribal member, who currently resides in Tulsa, Okla., is one of 16 American Indian artists selected for the 2014 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) Artist Fellowships.
“It is a great honor for me to receive the 2014 NACF Artist Fellowship in the Traditional Arts category,” she said. “As a professional artist who has supported myself for over 30 years with my art, I know first-hand of the challenge to remain creative and true to your craft while trying to pay all the bills.”
Goshorn will receive $10,000 for the Fellowship which will allow her to return to the National Museum of the American Indian in March and April to complete her study of historical Cherokee baskets and photographs in the collection. This will help her finish the work she started as part of her Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.
During her time there, she has examined many historical baskets and photographs and that study has led to influences in her own work. After examining an historical Cherokee gambling basket, she constructed one woven out of splints emblazoned with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
“The paper splints have a metallic gold and copper wash added to them to reinforce the tremendous exchange of money as a result of casinos,” she commented.
Goshorn said she has been influenced by many artists and basket makers over the years and added that the late Goingback Chiltoskey was one of her biggest and earliest influences. “He would carve or sculpt whatever he felt like creating and when it was finished, he would call the first number on the list and offer the work for sale. If that first person/gallery/museum chose not to purchase the piece, he would call the next contact on the list. I was amazed that he never had to make very many calls – his work was in such demand that it always sold.”
“I envied that freedom – to be able to create whatever he wanted and know that he would be able to make his living. That sense of freedom is exactly what the NACF Artist Fellowship affords native artists today. It allows us to experiment and explore new ideas without a sense of financial panic. I believe this to be particularly valuable in tribal communities because indigenous art is often overlooked in museums and galleries, deemed primitive or less valuable than ‘mainstream art’.
Goshorn is joined by the following artists as a 2014 NACF Artist Fellow:
- Keola Beamer (Native Hawaiian), music
- Raven Chacon (Navajo), music
- Eddie Chuculate (Muscogee Creek/Cherokee), literature
- Kaili Chun (Native Hawaiian), visual arts
- Santee Frazier (Cherokee Nation), literature
- Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy), traditional arts
- Melissa Henry (Navajo), film
- Micah Kamohoali’I (Native Hawaiian), dance
- Billy Luther (Navajo/Hopi/Laguna), film
- Patrick Makuakane (Native Hawaiian), dance
- Nora Naranjo-Morse (Tewa/Santa Clara Pueblo), visual arts
- Da-ka-xeen Mehner (Tlingit/N’ishga), visual arts
- Israel Shotridge (Tlingit), traditional arts
- Brooke Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish), film
- David Treuer (Ojibwe), literature
“It is our honor to present a dynamic new cohort of NACF Artist Fellows for 2014,” commented Reuben Roqueni, NACF program director. “Native artists are taking leadership in addressing critical issues across the country and act as catalysts for change in our communities. The fellowships support these artists as they delve deeper into their practices and cultivate their artist voices to transport and inspire us.”
Goshorn added, “Art has the power to persuade, to inspire and to express an entire culture. Without our arts, our culture cannot survive.”