Holly Wilson’s Art Keeps Stories Alive

By James Black

There are many different types of artists that work in many different forms of media. The Institute of American Indian Museum of Contemporary Native Arts held a video conferencing session with the artist Holly Wilson to see how she creates her work, which has been featured at MoCNA in the exhibition called, “Holly Wilson: On Turtle’s Back” which can be seen through January 27, 2019. Wilson is a multimedia artist. She is from the Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma and Cherokee. She grew up in southwestern Oklahoma in the town of Lawton.

Wilson was educated at the Fort Sill Indian School, where both of her parents worked in the kitchen at the school. At the school there were many different types of Native Americans from all over Indian country who were employed at the school. In their free time they would all get together and share stories.

As Wilson grew up into adulthood, she got into her art work as a sculptor. She gets her ideas from the stories she heard from her tribal elders and from the other Native Americans who worked at the school she attended. Wilson works mainly in colored wax or crayons and bronze metal to create her modern and abstracted figures. As she creates, she also uses her children as models so that she can get the shapes of her figures right. Wilson said, “She is grateful that she had listened as a child.”

According to the IAIA website on Wilson, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Institute in ceramics in 1992, a master’s degree in ceramics in1994, and a Master of

Fine Arts in sculpture in 2001, both from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Her works are in corporate, public, and museum collections throughout the United States, as well as national and international private collections.

Holly Wilson headshot
Photo credit: Regina Mountjoy

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