Julie Buffalohead

Julie Buffalohead is an enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. She received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and her MFA from Cornell University in 2001. She was awarded a prestigious Contemporary Arts Fellowship in 2013 by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana, which showed her work in an acclaimed exhibition the same year. She is the recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Arts, a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, and a Fellowship for Visual Artists from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She is represented by Bockley Gallery; her work has also been exhibited at local and national venues including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Weisman Art Museum, the George Gustav Heye Center, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Carl N. Gorman Museum, the Plains Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and Artfit Exhibition Space. She lives and works in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Art  – 

A Little Medicine and Magic

My work engages with Native stories, in which the animals are seen as beings, not as a commodity. These characters have a presence, they have intent; they speak, they can make decisions.

In my paintings and prints, animals are a vehicle to investigate what it means to be from two cultures, biracial. I am exploring an idea of inadequacy, an idea of not-Indian-enough. I have often portrayed animals in opposition to one another as a means of expressing the internal conflict that exists within someone like myself, navigating cultures.

My tribe, the Ponca, were originally from northern Nebraska, and in 1876 were forcibly removed at gunpoint to Oklahoma. Throughout my work, themes of conflict and injury are evident. In some cases animals are missing horns, reflecting the feeling of missing a part of oneself, and the ambiguities that exist for a biracial person living today in the United States.