Marcus Amerman (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) is credited
with creating a new genre within the Native American tradition of beadwork. “Since Marcus Amerman encountered beads, neither Amerman nor beads have been the same, “ the 1996 Indian Market Magazine proclaims. “A common response upon viewing his meticulously worked portraits, canvases and high fashion apparel is, ‘That’s beadwork? Wow.’… masterful creations full of vibrancy, color, and complexity—beadwork in motion, with a rich visual vocabulary—truly extraordinary work that weaves history into a groundbreaking, forward looking aesthetic, often with a wry, satirical touch.”
At the 2009 Santa Fe Indian Market, Amerman unveiled his largest, most ambitious piece to date, a 10 x 26 inch rendering of Buffalo Bill with Brave Chief, Eagle Chief, Knife Chief, Young Chief, American Horse, Rocky Bear, Flies Above, and Long Wolf inspired by the historic photo of the same. The piece contains nearly 118 colors in the over 120,000 beads used to complete it; each handpicked and then stitched to the backing by the artist. Amerman says that he chose the subject matter because he “…thought it was challenging both technically and philosophically. They all look like they are friends, and it’s the arliest photo I’ve ever seen of Indians and non-Indians depicted this way. American Horse’s hand on Buffalo Bill’s shoulder indicated more affection than I’d ever seen in a photo like his before.” Amerman holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and took additional art courses at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. He has participated in at least 50 exhibits in the last 25 years and is regularly awarded fellowships and artist residencies. His work is in the permanent collections of museums such as the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Portland Art Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, among many others.
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