Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Female Native American Ledger Artists Infuse Male-Dominated Art Form with Gentility and Humor

A few months ago, I attended the 2010 Heard Museum Guild's Indian Fair and Market in Phoenix.  As part of my successful "Heard @ The Heard 2010" blog series, I featured two of my favorite ledger artists Chris Pappan and Darryl Growing Thunder.  Afterwards, I received Facebook messages from Sheridan MacKnight and Dolores Purdy Corcoran--both female ledger artists--asking me when I was going to feature "us girls"on my blog.  I must be honest and say that I wasn't even aware that female ledger artists existed.  Needless to say, I stand corrected!

A while back, we all met in person at an exhibition opening party at Legends Santa Fe and decided that the 2010 Native Treasures show would be the perfect place to make that happen. So, this past Saturday, with camera in tow, I sat down with two of the top "chicks" working in Native American ledger art today--MacKnight (Chippewa and Lakota) and Purdy Corcoran (Caddo and Winnebago)--to talk about the art form, it's history,  how their work differs from their male counterparts' and their perspectives on how they fit into an area of Native art dominated by men. 

I was surprised to learn that women have been doing ledger art since the beginning of the 20th Century.  While a great deal of ledger art glorifies the past, these ladies' work honors tradition with reverence, but brings the form into the 21st Century with feminine beauty and softness, as well as humor. 

Enjoy the interview with MacKnight and Purdy Corcoran HERE.

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