Sharon Irla ~ Cherokee

Published on December 3, 2010 by John

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Sharon Irla
Sharon Irla

Sharon Irla (born 1957) is an award-winning, Native American artist of Cherokee descent and a registered tribal member of the Cherokee Nation. A self-taught artist, Irla began entering competitive art shows in 2003. Her collective body of works span the fields of painting, murals, graphics, photography and custom picture frames with Southeastern / Mississippian motifs.The majority of her awarded works are oil-on-canvas portraits of Cherokee women in both contemporary and historical settings.

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Themes

Irla’s most prevalent body of works are oil portraits of Native American women in both contemporary and historical settings. Her stated mission is to emphasize the complexity and importance of Native American women, thereby filing a perceived void in the artistic record.

“Throughout history,” Irla notes, “Native American women have been depicted in art far less often than Native American men, yet women played at least as important a role. For instance, the Cherokee used to have a Council of Women, and some Cherokee women, like Nanyehi (Nancy Ward), rose to the honored status of Beloved Woman, or War Woman. These women rendered considerably weighty tribal decisions, but we don’t find paintings of any of them.”

Technique

As a self-taught artist, Irla cites Caravaggio as being most influential toward the development of her own method, which she describes as “a combining of dramatic illumination and Old Masters technique.”

Community Action and Collaborations

Irla is a founding member of the Cherokee Artists Association which strives to promote Southeastern / Cherokee art and protect the interests of Native American artists.

She assisted GaDuGi artists (Bill Glass, Gary Allen, Demos Glass, Robby McMurtry and Ken Foster) with “The Passage,” an outdoor art installment at Ross Landing / Chattanooga, TN. It was through Ross Landing that many Cherokee made passage to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) during the Trail of Tears.

Awards

Sharon Irla’s first competitive art show entry was in 2003 with the oil-on-canvas portrait titled “She Was a Warrior” which received Honorable Mention at the Cherokee Homecoming Art Show in Tahlequah, OK. Irla has since won top awards in multiple Native American, competitive art shows.

Honorable Mention – 2003 Home Coming Art show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK – She Was A Warrior
Honorable Mention – 2005 Home Coming Art show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK – Serpentine Birds
Best Of Show – 2007 Cherokee Art Market, Catoosa, OK – Cherokee Beauty
Best of Category (paintings) – 2007 Cherokee Art Market, Catoosa, OK – Cherokee Beauty
Best Of Category (paintings) – 2007 Trail Of Tears Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Cherokee Beauty
Chief’s Choice – 2007 Cherokee Nation Holiday Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Cherokee Beauty
1st Place – 2007 Cherokee National Holiday Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Tellico Mysteries
Honorable Mention – 2007 Trail of Tears Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Tellico Mysteries
Best Of Category (paintings) – 2008 Trail Of Tears Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Crows Stirring The Magic
First Place – 2008 Cherokee National Holiday Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Crows Stirring The Magic
Speaker Of The Council Award – 2008 Cherokee National Holiday Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Crows Stirring The Magic
Chief’s Choice Award – 2008 Cherokee National Holiday Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Warrior’s Call
Best Of Show – 2008 Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Muskogee, OK – Mother’s Prayer
Peoples’ Choice – 2008 Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Muskogee, OK – Mother’s Prayer
Honorable Mention – 2008 Trail of Tears Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Mother’s Prayer
Best of Show – 2009 Southeastern Art Show (Chickasaw Nation) Ada, OK – Beloved Woman of The Cherokee
1st Place – 2009 Trail of Tears Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Mississippian Ink
Best of Show – 2009 Cherokee Holiday Art Show, Tahlequah, OK – Beloved Woman of the Cherokee
1st Place – 2009 Southeastern Art Show (Chickasaw Nation) Ada, OK – Crows Stirring The Magic

Source: Wikipedia

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