I interviewed Anna Tsouhlarakis, a Native artist. Anna is Navajo, Creek, and Greek. She is an educator and artist. Anna was born a Haskell rascal, and eventually moved to Taos, where her mom ran the IHS clinic. She is also a NAD (Native American at Dartmouth).
In this episode we discuss her art concepts, and the evolution of her work. We also discuss the role of contemporary Native art, an area that is not as known as “traditional” art. Anna also explains what is holding back Native artists (the answer may surprise you).
We discuss the evolution of her art from reactionary to proactive. This is something not specific to the art world. Many professions include people that are either reactionary or proactive. Someone is fighting against something. Another is fighting for something. The difference can be subtle, and one can often influence the other. Over the years I have tried to be more for things and less reacting to things. What about you?
Two great quotes from Anna:
“Art may not be what you think it is-” on the self-imposed limitations that people often put on themselves and their lack of artistic skills. I definitely fall into this category. I try to push myself to learn about and appreciate art of all kinds, but it is not easy.
“We need to be a full, fleshed out culture-” on the need for broad ranges of art in Indian Country. Traditional art is important. But if someone wants to make art that is more contemporary, they should be able to do this without feeling like they are losing out on their culture. We should celebrate and encourage all forms of Native art.
Links to resources discussed during episode:
Naveek mission statement began forming when she was young
Clash of the Titans in the National Museum of American Indian in New York City
Museum of Modern Art
Site Santa Fe
Museum of Contemporary Native Art
Eiteljorg (Contemporary Art Fellowship for Native Artists)
Who are some other contemporary Native artists that you know?
Do you know someone (artist or otherwise) I should interview?
Leave a message in the comments!