TULSA, Okla. – The 15th annual Cherokee Art Market begins today with the announcement of this year’s winners, including Best of Show, which was awarded to Northern Arapaho/Seneca artist Dallin Maybee for “Pestilence: Covid, Smallpox, Black Plague – A Floral Gas Mask.”
“The 2020 virtual art market created a new and unique opportunity for Cherokee Nation to introduce our market to a worldwide audience,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We have a responsibility to keep artisans and patrons safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the shift to an online format was the best way to move forward. In this challenging environment, we were able to ensure the most talented Native artists were still able to show their work and find a receptive audience.”
The Best of Show piece features 24k gold beads, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, ermine skins, satin ribbons, and brass bells and thimbles. Maybee said the mask depicts one of the many contemporary issues of our modern lives and the devastating impact of these diseases.
“This horrifying juxtaposition of the vulgarity of why gas masks even exist, coupled with the bacteria and viruses that have afflicted us, are visibly laid bare against beautiful beadwork and floral designs of bacteria and cross-sections of viruses,” Maybee said. “DNA vines weave through a petri dish of growth, with no discernable identification of whose DNA is there. Our DNA appears the same, and unfortunately we all wear this mask.”
Originally slated for October at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, the market moved to a virtual platform in an effort to support artists during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
The virtual market runs through Dec. 21 and features more than 90 elite Native American artists representing several tribes. Visitors can browse the market or search directly by price, medium, tribe or artist.
“We’re incredible impressed by the interest for the virtual market. This year has been tremendously difficult for artists, with many shows being forced to cancel, so we offered the virtual platform to our juried artists at no cost to help them to show and sell their work safely,” said Deborah Fritts, Cherokee Art Market coordinator. “Not only does their dedication and creativity promote Native culture, it enhances timely and relevant conversations about our past, present and future. We look forward to celebrating their work and hope the public will take time to visit us online.”
A complete list of winners from the 15th annual Cherokee Art Market can be found on the website, in addition to a variety of cultural demonstrations and artist conversations each day. Please visit www.CherokeeArtMarket.com for more information.