Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

Meet 2015 Fellow Holly Wilson

by Ashley Holland, Assistant Curator of Native American Art | Nov 04, 2015
Over the next few days, the Eiteljorg blog will profile the 2015 Fellows who will be featured in the upcoming Eiteljorg Fellowship exhibition, CONVERSATIONS. An opening celebration for this exhibit will be held on Nov. 13. Details below!

What follows is an excerpt from the artist statement of Holly Wilson (Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma/Cherokee). You can read more about the artist and her work in Holly Wilson: Bronze Stories by Margaret Archuleta in the 2015 Eiteljorg Fellowship exhibition catalog, available in the museum store.

Holly Wilson
(Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma/Cherokee)

Holly Wilson-HeadShot

I am a storyteller. As a Delaware/Cherokee Native American I grew up hearing many stories from my mother. I was drawn to those of shape shifters with the idea of a trickster who wears a mask to hide their identity, birds as messengers, and owls as bearers of tragic news. These stories now run through much of my work in the form of animals with human characteristics, masks of birds and other animals that I anthropomorphize.

Holly Wilson-Belonging

Belonging, 2014
Bronze, Geodes
Photography by Hadley Fruits

The masks some of the figures wear are layered with meaning from creatures in nature to a child’s imagined world. As children, we make and wear masks to be anything we want or need to be and we could do anything in them, from being a super hero to a bird in flight.

Holly Wilson-Masked
Masked, 2012
Bronze, African Mahogany
Collection: Eiteljorg Museum
Photography by Hadley Fruits

As adults, the layers and meaning deepen and grow and these masks are a way to represent the different personas that we need or desire to be in life. They become an identity that one can live through or hide behind in our roles – I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a wife, a mother, artist, and Indian.

In my sculptures I want you to breath in a moment frozen in time. I want you to feel another’s life like a skin for just that moment to see we are all one below that surface, that surface of skin no matter the color the shape or origin. My figures serve as my storytellers in the world, telling stories of the sacred and the precious, capturing moments of our day, our vulnerabilities, and our strengths.  They are the quiet echoes of life’s delicate balance, telling of the fragility in both life and their own form; how far one can reach, which step may be too many.

CONVERSATIONS runs from Nov. 14, 2015 - Feb. 28, 2016. Please join us for the opening of the exhibition on Nov. 13. The Eiteljorg Museum will honor the five Native Fellowship winners with an intimate gathering celebrating the artists. Guests will also enjoy a performance by Indigenous. End out the evening with the Contemporary Arts Party featuring Indigenous, Supaman, and DJ Kyle Long.

Friday, NOV 13
Opening Celebration!
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Celebration
6 - 6:30 p.m.      Indigenous performs
6:30 - 7:15 p.m. Program
Cost: $40 [includes admission to Contemporary Arts Party]

Contemporary Arts Party
8 - 9 p.m             Indigenous performs
9:45 - Midnight Supaman, DJ Kyle Long
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door

Click here to purchase your ticket.

Luzene is one of five 2015 Fellows and her artwork will be featured in the exhibition CONVERSATIONS: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, opening Nov. 13. 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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