the Governor's Arts Award Winners

David Bradley

Santa Fe

2016 recipient, Artist, Painter/Mixed Media

David Bradley is one of the nation's most respected and well-known Native American artists whose work has inspired at least three generations of artists.

"David's paintings address many contemporary issues that Native people are confronted with such as stereotypes and cultural appropriation," said nominator Della Warrior, director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe. "His style is unique and he is multi-talented. . . His work exemplifies activism through art."

Bradley himself has said, "To be an artist is to seek Truth. Art is about freedom, an artist should follow their heart." Born in California, Bradley spent most of his childhood in Minneapolis and on the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation. As a member of the Peace Corps, he lived for two years in Guatemala with Mayan Indians and learned a new life outlook &mdash an experience with essentials — that allowed him to better understand his heritage and changed him forever.

Bradley has lived in New Mexico for nearly 40 years since moving to Santa Fe to study art at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). He was awarded an honorary doctorate at IAIA's spring commencement ceremonies in May. "His Native art activism has impacted federal and state policies that protect Native artists' authentic work," said Dr. Robert Martin, IAIA President, who noted that Bradley was instrumental in the establishment of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.

Bradley has received numerous awards and fellowships, and is the only artist to win the top awards in both the Fine Art categories of painting and sculpture at the Santa Fe Indian Market. "Bradley's Postmodern style mixes various moments from art history with today's cultural concerns and labels, all with a clever sense of humor," said Peter Stoessel, director of Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe. MIAC recognized Bradley's excellence in artistic achievement with a solo retrospective exhibit in 2015. "The aura of his work is profound and a gift to the field of art," Warrior said.