IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Brenda Kingery, Vice-Chair

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Brenda Kingery is a member of the Chickasaw Nation — recording her life through her paintings.

Kingery spent seven years in Okinawa, and attended graduate school at Ryukyu University. After returning to the United States, she enrolled in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma — writing her thesis on the origins and influences of Ryukyuan folk art. After receiving her masters in art, with concentrations in painting and art history, she returned to Okinawa to teach drawing, painting, and Okinawan cultural history at the University of Maryland Far East Division.

Brenda, Tom, and their two children, settled in San Antonio, Texas, where Brenda taught at San Antonio College while continuing her painting career. In 1993 she was selected as the San Antonio Art League Museum’s Artist of the Year. Her work is included in many private, corporate, and public collections worldwide — including the flagship Marriott Hotels, Arthur Anderson Consulting, the Southwest Research Institute, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native American Art, Chickasaw Culture Center, and the San Antonio Museum of Art, where her work is in the permanent collection. She has had selected exhibitions at the Ryukyuan Prefectural Museum in Okinawa; the Uano Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo; the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana; Dadain Gallery at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C;  and The Chickasaw Center for Humanities and Art, Oklahoma. She is currently represented by Galcrie Orenda in Paris, France;  Parchman Stremmel Galleries in San Antonio, Texas;  Susan Calloway Fine Arts in Washington DC;  and Cortina Arte, Milan, Italy.

Kingery is the founding member of the Threads of Blessing International, and travels to Honduras, Mexico, and Uganda to teach textile and design in workshops that encourage women in developing countries to use their indigenous artistic skills. As an artist, Brenda sees life as textural patterns that can be described as narrative symbolism. Sometimes her paintings have as many as 25 layers of paint. Her goal is to create paintings full of life’s breath, just as with her Chickasaw grandmother’s stories. Every culture captured in her paintings gathers to sing and dance.

In 2007, Kingery was appointed by the President of the United States to the Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In 2012 and 2014, Kingery was selected by Salon d’ Automne to exhibit, Paris France.