Chapter:  Life as Motion, Motion as Life

In the summer of 2012, the Denver Art Museum hosted a symposium titled “Art in Motion: Native American Explorations of Time, Place, and Thought,” which brought artists Charlene Holy Bear, Leena Minifie, and Kent Monkman together with scholars Kristin Dowell, Aldona Jonaitis, and Daniel C. Swan to discuss American Indian art, using the idea of motion as a unifying theme. The perspectives explored in this volume reveal how scholars and artists with different backgrounds can employ overarching themes, such as motion, to investigate topics in arts and culture.

The first-person essays by artists Holy Bear, Minifie, and Monkman provide primary accounts of their artistic practices that have never been recorded or presented like this before. The chapters by Dowell, Jonaitis, and Swan present new directions in their scholarly research that are each, independent of this volume, important contributions to their fields. The authors explore wide-ranging subjects, including film and video, figurative sculpture, issues of representation and stereotypes, Native American Church art, and Tlingit dancing.

The visionary talks from “Art in Motion” have been adapted for publication and gathered together with a new introduction by symposium organizer John P. Lukavic, associate curator of native arts at the Denver Art Museum.

View the exhibition Why We Dance: American Indian Art in Motion
Buy the book Art In Motion: Native American Explorations of Time, Place, and Thought


Image: Dan Namingha (Tewa/Hopi, born 1950), Hopi Eagle Dancer, 1995. Acrylic paint on canvas. 47 ¾ x 47 ¾ in. Denver Art Museum: Gift of Virginia Vogel Mattern, 2003.1296. © Dan Namingha.