News Release: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship exhibition “Shifting Boundaries” opens Nov. 13

Riveting works on view by five Native artists selected for prestigious Fellowship


Anita Fields (Osage / Muscogee)

Starr Man, 2015
Clay, slip, gold luster glaze.
Collection of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma, Norman; The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS — Visitors will experience compelling, thought-provoking works of contemporary Native art in the new exhibition Shifting Boundaries, open at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art from Nov. 13 to Feb. 6. Five contemporary artists who are Native American or First Nations were chosen for the prestigious 2021 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Shifting Boundaries features examples of the Fellows’ work that include innovative paintings, prints, mixed media and installations.

The website is a hub of information about the Fellows and their art, as well as a look back at more than two decades of the Fellowship program. Public events on the exhibition’s opening weekend and during its run will appeal both to longtime aficionados of contemporary Native art as well as those new to the genre.

Sonny Assu (Ligwiłda’xw of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations)

Skoden, a’ight, STOODIS! Digital intervention on an Emily Carr painting (Skedans, 1912), 2020
Archival pigment print, Edition 3 / 5
Loan from the artist and Equinox Gallery, Vancouver

Selected by a panel of three art experts, the 2021 Eiteljorg Fellows include:

  • Invited artist Anita Fields (Osage / Muscogee), of Stillwater, Oklahoma, who is nationally recognized for her ceramic art and mixed media works. One of her ceramic pieces, Opposites Attract, currently is on view in another exhibition, Powerful Women II: Contemporary Art from the Eiteljorg Collection. The invited artist is selected for the Fellowship based on a lifetime of work.
  • Sonny Assu (Ligwilda’xw of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations) of Campbell River, British Columbia, a painter, printmaker and installation artist.
  • Catherine Blackburn (English River Dene First Nation) of Thornhill, British Columbia, a multi-disciplinary artist, designer and jeweler whose work includes fashion, installation and mixed media.
  • Athena LaTocha (Húnjkpaphˇa Lakota / Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe) of Peekskill, N.Y., who creates large bold paintings inspired by or containing parts of landscapes
  • Steven Yazzie (Diné / Laguna Pueblo) of Denver, a painter who also creates video and installations, and has received numerous awards.

Every other year since 1999, the Eiteljorg Fellowship has provided grants to a new class of five artists to support their continuing efforts in the contemporary art field. Each Fellow receives a $25,000 unrestricted grant, and the museum purchases more than $100,000 in art from the Fellows to add to its collection of contemporary Native art, considered one of the best such collections in the world.

“For 22 years, the Eiteljorg Fellowship has helped bring Native contemporary art to the forefront, casting a spotlight on the works of leading Native American and First Nations artists. The 2021 class of Eiteljorg Fellows is an exceptional group who have created intriguing works across a variety of disciplines — works that museum guests will want to experience,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “The Fellows’ work underscores the vitality, imagination and innovation in today’s Native art, and will encourage dialogue about contemporary art.”

Catherine Blackburn (English River Dene First Nation)

Bodies and Homelands, 2020
Laminated LightJet photo mounted on Dibond®
Loan from Global Affairs Canada

Four of the Fellows are scheduled to attend the exhibition’s opening weekend events, where the public can meet them in person:

Steven Yazzie (Diné / Laguna Pueblo)

Nature Doesn’t Give a S— About You, But it’s Sure Nice to Look At, 2020
Oil on canvas
Collection of the Eiteljorg Museum, Museum purchase from the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship

On are biographies of the artists and video interviews, along with highlights of the 10 prior rounds of the Fellowship and past years’ Fellows. The museum has published a full-color art catalog for Shifting Boundaries, featuring essays about each of the 2021 Fellows, available in the Museum Store. For additional public programs over coming months, visit

“The Eiteljorg is thrilled to have this opportunity to continue to build the museum’s incredible collection of Native art, and we are honored to welcome these five accomplished artists as Fellows. The museum’s longstanding commitment to contemporary Native art and artists was unique when the Fellowship program began, and it is exciting to see how the field has grown and evolved over more than two decades,” Eiteljorg Vice President and Chief Curatorial Officer Elisa Phelps said.

Athena LaTocha (Húnjkpaphˇa Lakota / Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe)

Thirteen Days, 2017-2019
Sumi and walnut ink, chamisa fibers and staining on paper
Loan from the artist

Shifting Boundaries: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship 2021, is presented by Lilly Endowment Inc., and sponsored by the Efroymson Family Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation Fund, the David H. and Barbara M. Jacobs Foundation, David H. Jacobs, the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit and Ice Miller LLP, with additional support from the Margot L. Eccles Arts and Culture Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation Fund, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Arts Council of the City of Indianapolis.

This year’s exhibition is presented in remembrance of Jennifer Complo McNutt, the museum’s curator of contemporary art, who died recently. For each previous Fellowship, she organized the selection round, met with the Fellows, curated the exhibitions of their work and ultimately made a major impact on the world of contemporary art.

About the Eiteljorg
A cultural pillar for 32 years in downtown Indianapolis’ scenic White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the arts, histories and cultures of the Native peoples of North America and of the American West by telling amazing stories. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. It was named one of the USA Today Readers’ Choice 10 Best Indiana Attractions. The Eiteljorg Museum is in full compliance with all state and local public health requirements for indoor gatherings. Guests are required to wear face masks and take other precautions.


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