Personal Memory and Identity

For many artists, art is a means of exploring personal histories, relationships, and struggles, as well as questions of identity and belief. This is no less true for Native artists, for whom issues of ethnic and cultural identity can contribute additional layers of complexity.

Marie Watt’s work draws on personal and collective memories of the many ways blankets comfort and protect us throughout our lives, from birth until death. Lorenzo Clayton’s Richard’s 3rd Hand series honors the memory of a dear friend and mentor and raises questions of spirituality. In her painfully intimate small paintings, Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez portrays her personal struggles, while Rick Bartow and Star Wallowing Bull have found in art a means of healing.

  • 1—In the Garden
  • 2—Star Quilt
  • 3—If only you could love me…
  • 4—Cathy with Two Moons
  • 5—The Gray Walls
  • 6—The Well
  • 7—Richard's 3rd Hand #16
  • 8—Once upon a Time…
  • Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection

    The National Museum of the American Indian
    NMAI on the National Mall | Washington, DC