the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Roxanne Swentzell

Santa Clara Pueblo

2019 recipient, Individual Artist

Roxanne Swentzell's first piece of art was a clay dog at the age of four. After formal training at the Portland Museum Art School and the Institute for American Indian Arts and the development of her own style, Swentzell began to create full-length clay figures that represent the complete spectrum of the human spirit. She feels that many people are out of touch with their environment and hopes relating to her expressive characters will help them get back in touch with their surroundings and feelings. Her figures represent a full range of emotions and irrepressible moods. Swentzell often focuses on interpretative female portraits attempting to bring back the balance of power between the male and female, inherently recognized in her own culture. Additionally, she increasingly uses a powerful sense of humor to communicate. Though steeped in her own culture, Swentzell's work demonstrates an astounding universality, speaking to people of all cultures. Awards for her work include the Spirit of the Heard Award (Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ), the Native Treasures Living Treasures Award (Santa Fe), a Santa Fe Community Foundation Award, and awards for specific work from the Southwest Association of Indian Arts Indian Market and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market. Her piece, "E-wah-Nee-nee" was commissioned for their auditorium by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian Institute, in Washington, DC. Her work is continuously shown in the Tower Gallery in Pojoaque.