Common Thread: A Conversation Between Artists Velma Kee Craig and Jessica Osceola
Velma Kee Craig, co-curator of the special exhibition Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles, and Seminole artist Jessica Osceola explore the commonalities and divergent practices between their work, which borrows from their respective traditions while incorporating contemporary materials and responding to current trends.
A ceramist, sculptor and multimedia artist, Jessica Osceola looks to her multicultural roots to meld traditional Native American themes and materials with contemporary art. Osceola grew up her great grandmother’s Seminole Indian village in Naples, Florida. Recently, Osceola’s sculptural work based on her personal narrative about multicultural identity was selected to be included in the group exhibition Return from Exile: Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art, which is currently traveling the United States. She also wrote about her life and work in a book titled “We Will Always Be Here: Native Peoples on Living and Thriving in the South.” In Naples, Florida, she owns a micro farm and works in her studio. Her life as a mother, farmer, and artist has influenced her work to include more about “cycles.” Osceola received her BA in Liberal Arts from Florida Gulf Coast University, and her MFA in Sculpture from Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Velma Kee Craig is a textile artist, writer of poetry and short screenplays, and a teaching artist. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature and a minor in American Indian studies. Past recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship with the Heard Museum, Craig teaches Diné weaving workshops with organizations such as the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Indian Center, the Sacred Youth Foundation, and local school districts. Velma’s weavings have been shown as part of the exhibitions: Connective Tissue: New Approaches to Fiber in Contemporary Native Art; Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles; WOVEN: The Art of Contemporary Native Weaving; and WEAVE: construct. code. connect. Velma Kee Craig (Diné) is Naasht’eezhi Tabaha (Zuni Edgewater) and born for Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water). Her maternal and paternal grandfathers are Tl’izilani (Many Goats) and Kinya’aanii (Towering House). Craig grew up on the Navajo reservation and now resides in Mesa, Arizona with her family.
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