Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Applauding Decades of IAIA Artists’ Influence and Growth in New Self-Portrait Alumni Show

Santa Fe, NM | May 3, 2012 –

For the past 50 years, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) has been the sole school in the country dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts. As a right of passage, the work of graduating artists is featured in the college’s museum downtown.

The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) supports and promotes their work for a larger audience. The museum is also the only such space for exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the most progressive work of contemporary Native artists in the world. And an upcoming new show comprised of self portraits of IAIA alumni continues to exemplify that tradition of evolution and excellence.

“This exhibition is an opportunity for artists to make new works, show items never seen, and challenge them to move the IAIA legacy forward to new generations,” said Chief Curator Ryan Rice of the upcoming alumnI alumnUS show opening May 25 at MoCNA. “As a self-portraiture exhibition, the show also allows artists to represent themselves as they continue to grow in mastering their techniques or push boundaries.”

Nearly 40 alumni are included in the multi-disciplinary show from a variety of backgrounds, including (a full listing can be seen here):

Billy Soza
   Bill Soza, Self Portrait, 1969

*    David Bradley (Chippewa), B.F.A. Fine Arts, 1980
*    Lucita Woodis-Junes (Navajo) A.A. 1975
*    Da-ka-xeen Mehner (Tlingit), A.A. 1992
*    Melissa Melero (Northern Paiute), B.F.A Fine Arts, 2009
*    Linda Lou Metoxen (Navajo), A.F.A 1987
*    Towanna Miller, A.F.A. 1986
*    Bill Soza (Cahuilla), A.F.A. 1969
*    Antonio Scott (Navajo), A.F.A. 2002
*    Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo), B.F.A., 2007
*    James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk), A.F.A. 1990
*    Roxanne Swetnzell (Santa Clara Pueblo)

*    Mike Medicine Horse Zillioux (Pima/Cheyenne/  Pawnee) A.F.A 1975  

Bill Soza Warsoldier, 63, who was one of the first students at IAIA when it began as an art high school for Native American students in the early 1960s, says it’s important to have shows like these that pay homage to students, IAIA and the American Indian art movement.

“It’s important for the school to show the creativity and contributions. It will be there forever,” he said.    

The exhibition, alumnI alumnUS, will continue through July 31.  The opening reception is at 5 p.m. May 25. In addition to the alumni show, the Lloyd Kiva New Gallery in the MoCNA store will host the work of artist Gerald Cournoyer (Oglala) from May 16 to August 6. The museum will also host the 2nd Annual Art Market on the museum’s front portal also featuring alumni.   

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Contact Information

Ryan Rice, Chief Curator, 505-428-5922 or