Santa Fe Public Library

Chelsea Bighorn – Satin I Reichman Memorial Art Gallery

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Chelsea Bighorn

May 2022


Satin / Reichman Memorial Art Gallery

Main Branch – Santa Fe Public Library

145 Washington Ave

Santa Fe, NM 87501


Artist Bio

Chelsea Bighorn was born and raised in Tempe, Arizona, and her tribal affiliations are the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes from Montana and the Shoshone-Paiute from Northern Nevada. After earning two associate degrees from Mesa Community College, Bighorn worked as an art instructor at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. It was there that she rediscovered a passion for education and her Native American culture. In 2019, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to pursue her lifelong dream of studying painting at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). In the summer of 2021, she participated in an internship through Journey Home in Santa Fe where she worked with a local artist as their assistant, and was also an apprentice to Crystal Worl in Juneau, Alaska. She was also a part of the public art project InFlux Arizona where she installed a mixed media sculpture in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2016. Bighorn graduated from IAIA in 2021 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts and will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the fall for her Masters in Fiber and Material Studies.

Project Statement

The hand-cut paper works are intricate designs created with a focus on symmetry and balance. Inspired by the Catholic widows of my childhood and travels, I incorporate design elements from beading, weaving, quilting and quill work to create my windows. They are then mounted onto glass along with a color shifting window cling to create a faux stained-glass window. Using the form of stained-glass windows and influences from my tribes (Sioux and Shoshone-Paiute) visual material culture. These pieces are my way of navigating between my two different cultural backgrounds, Irish American and Native American, connecting them both through my art.


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