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Twisted Path III Artist: Shan Goshorn

Twisted Path III

Shan Goshorn



Color of Conflicting Values by Shan GoshornColor of Conflicting Values, by Shan Goshorn, 2013, Arches watercolor paper printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, gold foil.Although my career was initially launched in the mid-1980s with hand-colored black and white photographs, I don’t consider myself a photographer. Rather, I think of myself as an artist who chooses a medium as a tool for the best possible way to express a statement. Recently, I have found myself drawn to the traditional crafts of my people, specifically basket making, as a way to illustrate my political statements and bring awareness to contemporary native issues.


I taught myself how to weave in two traditional Cherokee styles, the single-weave and more challenging, double-weave process. For the latter, the basket starts in the center of the basket, the splints are woven to the desired height, “turned” and then woven down the outside, and finished on the bottom. My tribal museum now recognizes me as the fourteenth living Cherokee person to have mastered this difficult technique.


Combining historical documents and photographs with traditional techniques and patterns, I strive to educate an audience about unique issues that continue to impact Indian people, i.e. sovereignty, gaming, repatriation, treaty violation, and misappropriation of our images and names (mascots). It is my belief that much of the
“dis-ease” and struggles of Indian people are a result of America’s policy regarding the first peoples. Whether it is from attempts to erase Native identity by denying language and culture through boarding schools assimilation, forced relocation, or providing commodity foods that contribute to major illnesses, historical trauma continues to plague us in a big way. It is my goal to enlighten audiences about these ongoing practices and encourage honest dialogue between people. I believe it is only through mutual understanding and respect that we can move forward and heal the wounds created by these repeated violations of our human rights.



Vera LongtoePhoto courtesy of the artist.Eastern Band Cherokee artist Shan Goshorn has lived in Tulsa since 1981. Her multi-media work has been exhibited extensively in the US and Canada and is in prestigious collections such as the National Museum of the American Indian, Gilcrease Museum, Institute of American Indian Arts, CN Gorman Museum , Minneapolis Institute of Art, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and The Museum of the Cherokee Indian. She has been awarded top honors such as Best of Show at 2013 FIBERWORKS, Best of Class at both 2013 Heard Museum Indian Fair and 2012 Cherokee Art Market, Innovation Award at SWAIA 2012 Indian Market and Grand Prize at 2011 Red Earth Indian Art Exhibition. Goshorn’s painted photographs (many of which address stereotypes and racism) have toured Italy with the Fratelli Alinari “Go West” Collection, and have been exhibited in venues including York, England’s Impression Gallery; NYC’s American Indian Community House Gallery, the Wheelwright Museum, the Franco-American Institute in Rennes, France, the International Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, and “BIRD 2005” in Beijing, China. In 2006 and again in 2009, she was one of 25 international, indigenous artists asked to present work at the conference Our People, Our Land, Our Images and Visual Sovereignty hosted by the CN Gorman Museum at the University of CA at Davis.

Shan has served on the Board of Directors of the American Indian Heritage and of NIPA (Native Indian/Inuit Photographer’s Association, Canada), and has been appointed to serve on the Greater Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission of Tulsa. She has also served on the Second Circle Advisory Board of the national native arts network ATLATL and as a consultant to the Philbrook Museum of Art for their touring basketry exhibition, Woven World. Presently, she is serving in an advisory position for the Tulsa City/County Library for their American Indian Collection, including the American Indian Festival of Words native author award.

Shan Goshorn is the recipient of 2013 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the 2013 SWAIA Discovery Fellowship and the 2013 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.


She has supported herself exclusively with her art for over 25 years through the Shan Goshorn Studio.


Learn more about Shan Goshorn:

Website >

Blog >

Eiteljorg Fellowship catalog excerpt >


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