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Artist biography


Maple City, Michigan

Image of Lois Beardslee

Lois Beardslee is Ojibwa. Her art reflects a lifetime spent in northern Michigan, interaction with other tribal members, and the formal study of Native American art history. As a teenager, she was profoundly influenced by the work of Yvonne Walker-Keshick, with whom she worked at the Traverse City Indian Center. She completed a bachelor's degree in art history at Oberlin College in 1976 and earned a master's degree in art history from the University of New Mexico in 1984. Her work incorporates traditional techniques, materials, and images drawn from her knowledge and experience. She gathers pigments for her paints from the earth in northern Michigan and finds design inspiration in ancient pictographs and Woodland Indian legends.

Beardslee's work reflects her desire to use art to fight the pervasive stereotyping of the Native American community. She has long been active in organizations concerned with issues relating to native artists. In the 1970s, she was one of the original members of the "Grey Canyon Artists," a Native American artists' cooperative in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She participates in the Great Lakes Indian Artists Association. Her involvement in the Native American Women Artists" project has prompted her to explore the themes of Native American culture, women, and water in her work.

In addition to painting, the multi-talented Beardslee also specializes in beadwork and is a superb storyteller. Her presentations to audiences of all ages, tribal and nontribal, are filled with tales of Nanabush and other Woodland Indian figures, as well as personal reminiscences of her childhood. Her stories have recently been collected and recorded on audio cassettes as Leelanau Earth Stories.

Artist's work

Image of Keepers of the Water by Lois BeardsleeObject measurements and display specifications:

Lois Beardslee
Keepers of the Water, 1994
Oil pastels on paper
14 3/4" h. x 11" w.
Sisters of the Great Lakes Collection
MSU Museum 7594.16

Piece is matted & framed - picture hooks required.