Saturday, June 18, 2016

Red Crystal Dragon/ Red Electric Skywalker - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 20

Prayers for Our Children
Prayers For Our Children, Shan Goshorn, 2015
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint.

Artist's Statement & Bio

This basket includes the first photo I saw at the National Anthropological Archives during my 2012 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, featuring children at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School. The NAA staff pulled it for me knowing that I was interested in seeing images from boarding schools but I was not prepared for the imperial size or the content of this image. It was so exceedingly emotional for me to see the solemn brown faces, the shorn hair, the stiff military uniforms on these little children that I had to leave the room to compose myself. I’ve been thinking about this image ever since then, knowing that patience was critical and that I would eventually be shown the best way to include this photo in my work.

The goal of these boarding schools was to acculturate and “civilize” Indian children, thus stripping them of their native identity. The negative impact on indigenous culture has been devastating, resulting in the loss of language and tribal customs and resulting in behaviors formerly unheard of among tribes, including domestic abuse. This new violence in Indian Country has been directly linked to the lessons these children learned about authority and discipline as part of their boarding school education.

Included throughout the interior of the basket, and within the crosses of the exterior, are the names and tribes of the 10-12,000 children listed on the Carlisle student roster during its 40- year existence. The weaving pattern is a traditional Cherokee one called Cross-On-A-Hill. The white “stars” in the pattern do not, however, represent a Christian ideal for this basket. Instead they symbolize the sanctity of the children, reminiscent of bright points of light in their vast sea of sorrow.

Woven into the basket are prayers of healing and well being in the Navajo, Lakota, Kaw and Cherokee languages. Also included are the words to a Memorial Song; the translated meaning is “We remember your sacrifices. You will not be forgotten.” The enclosed shape is interpretive of a protective embrace, symbolically comforting these beautiful children.


Eastern Band Cherokee artist Shan Goshorn has lived in Tulsa since 1981.

Her multi-media work has been exhibited extensively in the US and Canada and is in prestigious collections such as the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC), Gilcrease Museum (OK), Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (NM), CN Gorman Museum (UC Davis, CA), Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN), Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (IN) and The Museum of the Cherokee Indian (NC).  She has been awarded top honors such as (selected) Best of Class at 2013 SWAIA Indian Market, 2013 Heard Museum Indian Fair and 2012 Cherokee Art Market; the Innovation Award at SWAIA 2012 Indian Market; and Grand Prize at 2011 Red Earth Indian Art Exhibition. Goshorn's painted photographs (many of which address stereotypes and racism) have toured Italy with the Fratelli Alinari "Go West" Collection, and have been exhibited in venues including York, England's Impression Gallery; twice in NYC's American Indian Community House Gallery (once in a three person show entitled "Dispelling the Myth; Controlling The Image" and again in a two person show about repatriation called “Ghost Dance”); the Wheelwright Museum (NM); the Franco-American Institute in Rennes, France; the International Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa; and “BIRD 2005” in Beijing, China. In 2006 and again in 2009, she was one of 25 international, indigenous artists asked to present work at the conference Our People, Our Land, Our Images and Visual Sovereignty hosted by the CN Gorman Museum at the University of CA at Davis. 

Shan has served on the Board of Directors of the American Indian Heritage Center (OK) as the first vice chair and of NIIPA (Native Indian/Inuit Photographer's Association, Canada), and has been appointed by the mayor to serve on the Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission and the Arts Commission of Tulsa. She has also served on the Second Circle Advisory Board of the national native arts network ATLATL and as a consultant to the Philbrook Museum of Art (OK) for their touring basketry exhibition, Woven Worlds. Presently she is serving in an advisory position for the Tulsa City/County Library for their American Indian Collection, including the American Indian Festival of Words native author award. 

Shan Goshorn is the recipient of the 2014 Natives Arts and Culture Artist Fellowship, 2013 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the 2013 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, the 2013 SWAIA Discovery Fellowship and the 2015 United States Artists Fellowship. 

© Shan Goshorn Studio/ 


Kin 181: Red Crystal Dragon

I dedicate in order to nurture
Universalizing being
I seal the input of birth
With the crystal tone of cooperation
I am guided by the power of space.

Death is awakening to non-ego and is characterized by light.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2015-2016.

The Sacred Tzolk'in 

Manipura Chakra (Limi Plasma)

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