Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

Meet the Fellows | Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton (Part III of V)

by DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager | Oct 23, 2013
Each week the Eiteljorg blog will profile artists who will be featured in RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. The exhibit opens Nov. 9. Details below!

What follows is an excerpt from Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton: Master Mixer, Man of Many Colors, by Dana Claxton (Lakota) 
(from RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition catalog). 

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun
(Coast Salish/Okanagan)

Photo credit: Alana Paterson 

I work for art, not to be used by racism. I make art to get rid of racism. - Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun has been drawing and painting since he could hold an instrument in his hand. He once stated, "The paintbrush is like a weapon," and in his case, it is a weapon against the pen and the written word that colonialists used to dehumanize indigenous people and to steal Indian land. He has also stated, "I am a history painter." For over thirty years, he has been painting the "Indian" condition and all the complexities of being Indian, past, present, and future. He paints land…Indian land. The indigenous imperative to honor land has fueled most of his artistic output for the last three decades. And within the honoring of land, he weaves indigenous sovereignty and the de-subjugation and humanization of indigenous bodies right into the living land herself.

Yuxweluptun has declared that "Canada is like a baby crawling around wearing a dirty diaper," suggesting that the nation is in an immature state of being and needs to come clean of its insidious past of legally oppressing Indians and the continued denial that there is anything wrong with the current state of aboriginal people. The bonds between Indian and non-Indian peoples are complex, filled with love, hate, desire, confusion, distrust, and fear. Canada and the United States have difficult histories that have shaped the difficult present. It is not always a pleasant picture, but Yuxweluptun vividly paints large-scale paintings and makes etchings, drawings, performance, installations, and sculptures that often depict these realities. His work addresses land use, land claims, and land spirits while always steadfastly stating that land is alive and needs to be respected and nurtured, cared for, loved. His work is shaped by indigenous imperatives of walking gently on the earth and not doing too much damage. His body of work has persuaded viewers to love Mother Earth and perhaps even love Indian people. He has often asked audiences, "Can you love Indian people?"

Caution! You are Entering a Free State of Mind Zone, 2000. Acrylic on canvas.
Private collection

Yuxweluptun moves fluidly from large scale to intimate works, from color to black and white. Thirty-one works are included in this exhibition, ranging from large-scale acrylic on canvas to intimate drawings and prints.

Floor Opener, 2013. Acrylic on canvas.
Courtesy of Michael O’Brian

The range of scale and hue and everything in between significantly represents his extensive oeuvre , moving with ease from one medium and scale to the other.

Portrait of a Residential School Child, 2005. Acrylic on canvas.
Private collection

Whether abstract or his unique blend of Northwest Coast Salish surrealism, all the paintings maintain a color range that he invents. As a master mixer colorist, his palette refuses to remain the same after all these years of painting.

Meet Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton, Friday, Nov. 8 at the Eiteljorg.

Schedule for opening weekend of RED:Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
5:30–7:30 p.m.
$40 – includes Saturday’s activities
To commemorate the opening of RED: the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the museum will honor the five Native Fellowship winners with an intimate gathering that celebrates their artistic accomplishments.

7:30 p.m.–12 a.m.
Contemporary Arts Party
$15 at the door, $10 in advance – includes Saturday’s activities
Celebrate the opening of RED by partying all night to the sounds of A Tribe Called Red and DJ Kyle Long of the Cultural Cannibals. Additional entertainment will be provided by the comedy improve group the 1491s, Big Car, Know No Stranger, and more!
Tickets are available for purchase at


All Day
RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship
Be among the first to experience RED.
Opening Day a
ctivities include a gallery tour with the Fellows from 10 a.m.-12 p.m and from 1–3 p.m. a presentation by comedic cultural critics, the 1491s. Saturday's event is in collaboration with the 2013 Spirit & Place Festival. This festival reaches 20,000 people each year through dozens of “never before seen” programs that promote growth of the human spirit.

Lawrence Paul is one of five 2013 Fellows and his artwork will be featured in the exhibition RED: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, opening Nov. 9. This biennial program recognizes the accomplishments of one invited and four juried Fellows, which are chosen by a panel of independent experts. As part of the Fellowship, each artist receives a $25,000 unrestricted cash award and their work is exhibited and further explored in an accompanying catalog. In addition, the museum purchases a total of over $100,000 worth of art from the Fellows for the permanent collection, adding to a body of work that has given the Eiteljorg Museum a collection of Native contemporary art that has been referred to as the “greatest in the world.”


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