New exhibits feature Native American artists

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“Brother” by Jeannie Barbour.
“Into the Country – Original Chickasaw Allotment” by Cale Chadwick.
“Winter Blues on the Arbuckle” by Mary Ruth Barnes.

New exhibits feature Native American artists

By Linda Miller

Contemporary art pieces by Jeannie Barbour, Mary Ruth Barnes and Cale Chadwick, all award-winning Native American artists, are on exhibit through Oct. 31 at three separate locations in Oklahoma.

Barbour’s drawings and paintings are featured at the Chickasaw Visitor Center in Sulphur.

Barnes’ photography and drawings are at the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center in Davis, and Chadwick’s drawings and photographs are on display at Exhibit C in Oklahoma City.

When she was just 4-years-old, Barbour started drawing and painting, simple acts that ignited an interest and passion that continues today. She finds inspiration in Southeastern and tribal history and culture and brings to life images using colored pencil, oil paint and watercolor.

“As a Chickasaw, themes regarding verbalized tradition have been of special interest to me, and I try to convey that in my art with each piece I create,” Barbour said. “I prefer to illustrate subject matter based on positive experiences and relationships that reflect Chickasaw traditions.”

Barbour’s awards are many, including an Oklahoma Book Award for Best Illustrations in 2014, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Bronze Award in 2013 and Best Illustrator in 2013 by the Delta Kappa Gamma International Association of Teachers. Her illustrations also have been published in several books associated with the Chickasaw Press. Barbour is the creative director for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Communications.

Barnes grew up spending time with her grandfather, Henry McSwain, an original Chickasaw enrollee, who inspired her to become an artist. She specializes in photography and paintings using watercolor, pencil and ink sketching and acrylic.

“While growing up in Tishomingo and playing football for Murray State College, my grandfather was also a story-teller and artist; and was inspiration for me and my art. I am fortunate to be of Chickasaw heritage to continue my grandfather’s tradition,” Barnes said. “My horses inspire me as they inspired my grandfather. He taught me the quiet excitement for life, and I try to express that ‘quiet excitement’ through my paintings.”

Barnes’ accolades include Chickasaw Dynamic Women forum artists in 2010 and 2015 and Southeastern Art Show and Market awards from 2009 to 2015. She recently was featured in The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture. Barnes has taught art and photography at the high school and college level, and is currently teaching drawing and painting classes at the ARTesian Gallery & Studios in Sulphur and at the Chickasaw Nation Arts and Humanities in Ada.

Chadwick felt the pull of art at an early age and has dedicated her career to its many formats. She works for the Chickasaw Press at the Chickasaw Nation Department of History and Culture, but in her free time she draws, paints and photographs. The natural elements found throughout the original Chickasaw allotment that her family still resides on plays a role in her artwork.

“I’m inspired when I’m around fellow artists, and when I’m in nature; both are great forms of inspiration and motivation,” Chadwick said. “Mixing medias coupled with my unique style that leans toward the genre of surrealism makes my art stand out from the rest.”

Chadwick has received American Advertising Federation’s Addy Awards in 2006 through 2013, along with Telly Awards in 2008 and 2012 for her work in film and video.

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