First American Art Magazine No. 16, Fall 2017 - Page 18

SEVEN DIRECTIONS TAHNEE AHTONEHARJO GROWINGTHUNDER K IOWA-MUSCOGEE-SEMINOLE CURATOR and beadwork artist Tahnee Ahtoneharjo Growingthunder grew up immersed in the Native art world, thanks in part to her celebrated artist mother, Sharron Ahtone-Harjo (Kiowa). Tahnee earned her master of liberal arts degree in museology from Harvard Extension School and her BFA degree in museum studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She recently served as curator and collections manager at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, where she curated Without a Theme, a group exhibition of contem- porary Native art. She and her husband, George, own and operate GT Museum Services, providing art handling and consultation. She interned at the Kiowa Tribal Museum, Red Earth Art Center, and Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. Her artwork has won numerous awards at competitive shows and is featured in several public collections across the country. She lives with George and their children. Tahnee Ahtoneharjo Growingthunder. Photo: Jason S. Ordaz. WEST. One up-and-coming designer that I’m excited about is Jontay Kahm, the son of the hard-edge, abstract painter Jeff Kahm (both Plains Cree). Jontay studied fashion at Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver. I appreciate his aesthetic style, inspired by Alexander McQueen. This spring, Jontay shared with me his techniques as we journeyed through the labs of the New School in New York. He creates exciting patterns and has a dramatic design aesthetic. I recognize the strength of his portfolio. His fashions are not necessarily ready to wear; he creates custom, one-of-a-kind pieces that are appropriate for New York City or Los Angeles or Vancouver. His creations are on Instagram at @underlining_desire. CENTER. It seems like not enough museums are collecting contemporary Native art, but the Minneapolis Institute of Art is committed to collecting and exhibiting contemporary work. They are doing exciting things. Not only are they connected to the local Dakota and Ojibwe communities, but they are also very inclusive of other Native artists. I’ve been following their efforts to work with Native artists since the late 1980s and look forward to them incorporating Native narratives in more upcoming projects. I appreciate the free membership, which means a lot to Native communities who might not otherwise have an opportunity to be members of an urban art museum, and their Native American Affinity Art Group to engage audiences with Native art. Jontay Kahm (Plains Cree), Nautilus Dress, couture dress and shell wreath. Image courtesy of the artist. 16 | WWW.FIRSTAMERICANARTMAGAZINE.COM EAST. Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag) has a complex, labor-intensive, handmade process that should be shared. She starts with plain quahog shells and hand-grinds them into wampum beads and pendants. A bead can take an entire day to make. You won’t find store-bought looms or