Supporting Public Arts: Indigenous Artists Share their Vision

Supporting Public Arts: Indigenous Artists Share their Vision
January 12, 2021; 10 a.m. (MST/New Mexico)

Native arts are integral to tourism in Indian Country, as exhibitions, art markets and demonstrations can help drive sales and visitation. There are many recognizable public art installations throughout the country. The impact is strong and brings together a community, educates visitors, shares history and brings recognition to an area.



Votan Ik, Founder; NSRGNTS
Votan Ik is founder of NSRGNTS, a native-owned, Indigenous brand, business, and art collective that advocates for Indigenous rights. His partner, Leah (Povi) Lewis (Pueblo/Diné) raised in Albuquerque, NM, is an active member of NSRGNTS and a contributing artist and designer for the brand. Votan is of Maya and Nahua descent, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. As a young kid growing up in the city, Votan was influenced by graffiti art. He remembers looking though books like subway art and later, spray can art, and was mesmerized by the characters and letters combined. As he got older, he realized like all artist’s do, that he needed to forge his identity. His inspiration became traditions! “As indigenous people, we’ve contributed so many things to the world…Although we have never really been given the opportunity to share this with the masses across the world, now for us, our artwork has been that outlet.”
Lillian Pitt, Pacific Northwest Native American Artist
I was born on the Warm Springs Confederated Tribes of the Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute tribes in 1943. My given name is Wak’amo, the Camas root that grows in the Columbia River Gorge where my ancestors lived for over 10,000 years. I started out in clay and with the help and suggestions of my peers and mentors I started doing bronze works, then jewelry design, printmaking, then finally, public art. All the works I do are based on my heritage using the rock carvings and paintings, our basket works gave me inspiration and our legends all the River people in the Columbia River Gorge. The Public Art works for me because of the collaboration between, the fabricator, photographer, metal or glass worker. I use different teams for different jobs. I acknowledge the responsibility of being, an Elder, representing my people honorably, and the final work lets other people know we, the Indigenous people are still here creating and leaving our stories to enlighten all.
George Rivera, Artist and former Governor of the Pueblo of Pojoaque
George served his Pueblo in Northern New Mexico for 12 years, both as Lt. Governor for two years and then as Governor for ten years. George has been sculpting and teaching art for more than 30 years. His work centers primarily on monumental stone and bronze sculpture, painting and architectural design and the driving force behind all of his creations is the Native American Pueblo culture. His monumental creations on display at the Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino include a bronze Buffalo Dancer, Deer Dancer and Butterfly Dancer. Under his leadership as governor, he helped develop businesses and services for the small community, including the Poeh Cultural Center and Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. He is responsible for the architectural style and aesthetics of this outstanding resort which is known for its impressive design and art collection valued at more than two million dollars. The Poeh Center has become an important resource for Pueblo people to learn their arts and culture.