Dana Claxton

About the Artist

Dana Claxton was born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and is a member of the Hunkpapa Lakota Nation. Her family is descended from Sitting Bull's followers, who fled persecution from the U.S. Army in 1876 after the Battle of Little Bighorn by escaping into Canada. Claxton states about her heritage and experience as they relate to her art making, "I'm influenced by my own experience as a Lakota woman, as a Canadian, a mixed blood Canadian, and then my own relationship to the natural and supernatural world. So taking that whole bundle of experiences, it all goes in to the artwork, I think that's where the multi-layering comes in because I've had a very multi-layered life." (Willard, 2007)

Tania Willard describes Claxton’s process and work, “[s]tarting from grandmothers and ancestors, land and sky, rage and beauty, Dana Claxton weaves images, sounds, and ideas together with a sense of balance, subversion, and hope. Dana's work is situated in place, remembering, and history, bringing these elements together in  surrealAn art movement in the early 20th century based on dreams, and the subconscious, and the distortion of representations.  homages and explorations. Dana's work is part of a journey - the journey of identity of self and Nation (both  IndigenousNative; produced, growing, or living, naturally in a country or climate; not exotic; not imported. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  nations and Canadian Nationhood), the journey of history, and the journey of the spirit.”  (Willard, 2007)

Claxton is a multidisciplinary artist, working in  installationAn art work specially designed to fit in or to make use of a specific type of space. It usually consists of more than one element and relates to the space in which it is displayed.  and  performanceAn art form in which the actions of a person or group in a particular place at a particular time constitute the artwork; all works of performance art therefore incorporate time, space, the performer’s body, and the relationship between performer and viewer.  art and as well as film, video and photography and is an artist whose challenging works have strong political messages. She is an active member of the arts community and has participated on juries and advisory committees and been involved in discussions, youth mentoring and curatorial projects.  She currently resides in Vancouver and is a sessional lecturer at Emily Carr School of Art and Design, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 


Excerpts from Buffalo Bone China
On Dana Claxton
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning