UI Distinguished American Indian Speakers Series Addresses Comic Art and Native Experience

Monday, October 7 2013


MOSCOW, Idaho —The University of Idaho’s 14th Distinguished American Indian Speakers Series will focus on Native American artists using comic art with Antonio R. Chavarria on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, with a reception to follow at BookPeople of Moscow, 521 S. Main St. in Moscow. Both the talk and the reception are free and open to the public.

Chavarria will deliver the keynote address, “Adaptive Powers: Comic Art transformed through native experience.” His talk will explore early forms of comic strip-like art among native people, as well as the current surge in popularity of comic art among native artists as engagement in popular culture to resist stereotypes and to communicate messages of resistance and resilience.

“We are very excited to bring Antonio Chavarria in as the speaker for our series this year,” said Jan Johnson, UI American Indian studies coordinator. “His knowledge and experience with comic art created by native people is remarkable, and his talk will help audiences connect to the topic and to the unique collection he has curated that we’re showing at the Prichard Art Gallery. This marks “Comic Art Indigène’s” first appearance in the Pacific Northwest. The American Indian studies program and the Prichard Art Gallery are proud to bring such an unusual and exciting show to Moscow.”

Chavarria also is the curator of the exhibit “Comic Art Indigène.” It will run Oct. 18 – Dec. 1 at the Prichard Art Gallery, 414 South Main, Moscow.

“Comic Art Indigène” examines the influence of comic strips and comic books on contemporary Native American Art. Artists from across the United States are included along with historic artifacts and images to contextualize Native American narrative traditions.

Chavarria is the Curator of Ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology (MIAC/LAB) in Santa Fe, N.M. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Denver, he was the first Branigar Intern at the School of American Research in Santa Fe.

He has served as a board member for the Council for Museum Anthropology, the Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology, both sections of the American Anthropological Association, and as a cultural/exhibit consultant for Miami University of Ohio, the Pojoaque Pueblo Poeh Center, the National Park Service, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Haak’u Museum at the Sky City Cultural Center and the Southwest Association for Indian Arts.

Chavarria also served as a community liaison and curator for the inaugural Pueblo exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. He is a contributor to the publications “Painting a Native World” and “A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos.” He resides and abides at Santa Clara Pueblo.
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