IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Sonya Kelliher-Combs


Sonya Kelliher-Combs is a contemporary mixed-media artist and Indigenous Arts Advocate, Educator, and Curator. She was born and raised in rural Alaska. Kelliher-Combs received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK. Her Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Her mixed-media work has been exhibited extensively and can be found in numerous collections including the National Museum of the American Indian, Anchorage Museum, Alaska State Museum, University of Alaska Museum of the North, Nordamerika Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the British Royal Museum. Kelliher-Combs has been awarded the prestigious Eiteljorg Fellowship, Rasmuson Individual Artist Fellowship, Dartmouth Artist in Residence, is a recipient of the 2005 Anchorage Mayor’s Individual Artist Award, 2010 Alaska Governor’s Individual Artist Award.

Kelliher-Combs mixed-media installations, paintings and sculptures have been exhibited nationally in the Changing Hands 2: Art without Reservation (Museum of Art and Design, NY, Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM, Burke Museum, Seattle, WA), Hide, (National Museum of American Indian Art, New York, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM), This is not a Silent Movie at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Contemporary Craft Museum, Portland, OR, University of Montana, Missoula, MN), the international exhibitions Arts from the Arctic (Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK), True North (Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK,) and the Indigenous Quintennia:l Sakahan, a major international survey of contemporary Indigenous art from around the world, (The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.)

Kelliher-Combs currently lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. As an Alaska Native artist and advocate, she is a founding board member of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, First Light Alaska, and serves on the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Arts Board. It is her goal and mission to bring awareness, to educate, and to perpetuate the arts and traditions of the many diverse cultures of Alaska and the North.