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Towanna Miller

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Birthplace
Six Nations, Ontario

Birth year
1966

Lives in
Kahnawake, Quebec

Schools
High School of Art & Design, NYC
Kahnawake Survival School, 1983
Insitute of American Indian Art, 1983, Associate of Fine Art

Tags
Iroquois pottery, Bead work traditional, digital

Statement

Artist Statement:

I'm Haudensaunee (People of the Longhouse) Mohawk woman of the Bear Clan from Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada. Each time I went to the Longhouse for ceremonies I kept envisioning Iroquois art.  I feel privileged to be able to share myself through art. While I paint I listen to Native and classical music, it helps me to stay focused. My creativity encompasses painting, beading, woodburning, Iroquois pottery, moose hair embroidery and tufting,  Iroquois men's headdress (Gustowa), Iroquois traditional regalia and pow-wow regalia.  I was a pow-wow fancy dancer for many years which gave me the incentive to learn the many techniques in beading.  I've incorporate some of these beading techniques directly onto my painted canvas.  The pottery paintings I've created utilize modeling paste for a 3 dimensional effect and I enjoy watching people take a second look and are tempted to touch the work to see if it's their eyes deceiving them.  Sometimes I feel like a storyteller because I spend much time sharing our Iroquois stories behind my work.  I hope you have enjoyed my art as much as I have in producing them. I keep asking myself “What does it mean to be Mohawk” and my next painting whispers to me.

 

 

Biography:

I attended High School of Art & Design, Manhattan, New York 1980 - 1982. Kahnawake Survival School 1983, Quebec Canada, and the Institute Of American Indian Art 1983- 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The schools gave me the tools it was up to me to be productive. For a short time I worked at the American Indian Community Gallery/Museum, NY 1989. I lived in Santa Fe for ten years which might explain the reason why my work has the look of the South West Style with Mohawk inspiration.

The Iroquois have passed down stories and legends, which tell of our history and beliefs.  Some of these oral histories have never been written down and some have been forgotten.  I make it my mission in life to listen and absorb these stories from our elders and I also research many old books. It made me proud to be Mohawk and has greatly influenced my art.  I don't want these stories to die.  I make a visual interpretation from them in the hopes to keep it alive for future generations.

 

Recent Exhibits

Towanna Miller participated in these exhibits:

Jun, 2013 Indigenous Brilliance—Italy
Palazzo Vecchio
 
Jun, 2012 Indigenous Brilliance: Contemporary Native American Art
Highgate Gallery
 
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