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Marvin Oliver Takes Home Top Prize at Prestigious Juried Competition



PHOENIX — A contemporary sculpture, “A River’s Spirit and Offering” by distinguished sculptor Marvin Oliver won the crowning artistic achievement of “Best in Show” at the 55th annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market on Friday, March 1.

The work by Oliver (Quinault/Isleta-Pueblo) is “formulated by merging the spirit of past traditions with those of the present, to create new horizons for the future,” according to his website, marvinoliver.com.

During his 40-year career, Oliver has experimented with cedar, bronze, steel and glass to create masks, helmets, wood panels, totem poles, blown glass bowls, bronze ravens and sculpted whale fins that mix ancient and contemporary styles. His art is inspired by the imagery of the southern Coast Salish, and incorporates northern formline designs into his work as a tribute to his Northwest Coast heritage, according to a description on the website quintanagalleries.com. His work “Mystical Journey” is prominently featured at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, and he has had many other public art pieces displayed across the United States, Canada, Japan and Italy, according to the artist’s website.

Oliver currently serves as the department director of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington, where he also teaches two-dimensional design, woodcarving and art history. He also holds the title of curator of contemporary Native American art at the Burke Museum in Seattle.

“Best of Class” award recipients are listed below. A full list of winners and this year’s judges is at heard.org/fair, click on “Competition Winners.”

I – Jewelry and Lapidary – Benson Manygoats (Navajo/Diné), “Shush”

II – Pottery – Jennifer Moquino and Russell Sanchez (San Ildefonso Pueblo / Santa Clara Pueblo), Lidded Pot

III – Paintings, Drawings, Graphics, Photography – Keri Ataumbi (Kiowa), “Profile Portraits”

IV – Wooden Carvings – Curtis Naseyowma (Hopi/Taos), “Vision of Mongwi”

V – Sculpture – Marvin Oliver (Quinault), “A River's Spirit and Offering”

VI – Textiles, Weavings, Clothing – Jason Harvey (Navajo), “Red Mesa”

VII – Diverse Art Forms – Leith Mahkewa (Oneida), “Raotonnets - His Spirit”

VIII – Baskets – Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee), “Separating the Chaff”


Conrad House Award – Susan  L. Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo), “Love Gun”


The 55th Annual Guild Indian Fair & Market took place on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 & 3, 2013.