Native American Artist

Ron Yorgason

Charly Lowry raises the hand-drum, strikes a heartbeat and begins reciting a song she wrote after leaving the comfort of her native community for college — “An existence so beautiful, so colorful/ deep rooted in originality/ eye-candy of shallow minds/ that was her reality, still/ she walks around with a smile/ for the whole wide world to see/ Inside’s ascreamin’/ Free yourself from strains of society.”

Carlson standing in front of her art.
Courtesy of the Nasher Museum

For generations Native Americans were left out of the mainstream art world. An exhibition called "Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Today" aims to correct this oversight and recast the history of contemporary art to include work by Native Americans.

photo of joy harjo
Karen Kuehn

Critics call Joy Harjo “the first lady of American Indian poetry.” But Harjo is more than a poet. She is also an author, musician and playwright. She is a native of Oklahoma and a member of the Mvskoke (Muscogee) Nation.

Photo of sculpture of bodies in bondage
Courtesy of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center at UNC

For artist Toni Scott, the question of where her family is from has no simple answer. Years of comprehensive research conducted by her and her family showed that some of her ancestors were slave-owners, others were slaves, and still others were gifted land by the U.S. government after they marched down the Trail of Tears.