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(Northern Arapaho)

Old Stories, 2022

Airbrushed acrylic and oil on linen
30” x 36”

As a child I spent a lot of time listening to our elders. They spoke about the Arapaho culture, our connection to Mother Earth and the ever changing times they lived in. What I remember most are their personal stories: the hardships they endured, the loss, but also the joy, the happiness, and the humor. Those shared reflections, continually keep me grounded as a person and as an artist.

Neiwoo - Grandma, 2022

Airbrushed acrylic and oil on linen
30” x 36”

I was fortunate enough to have been around my grandmother quite a bit as a kid. She was the matriarch that held the family together. It was only as an adult that I learned from others of how respected she was, how many people she helped, and all the sacrifices she made for her family. I have seen and known many great-grandmas who have done the same. Through thick and thin they have kept our culture going, kept families going, and even kept whole communities going. Their support, their examples and their blessings, continually keep me grounded as a person and as an artist.

Robert Martinez is a celebrated Northern Arapaho artist who was born in Wyoming on the Wind River Reservation. A member of the Northern Arapaho tribe, he attended the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design (RMCAD) and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in Painting & Drawing and minoring in sculpture. At the age of 19, he became the youngest Native American to graduate from RMCAD at that time. His native heritage remains a constant inspiration and source of ideas for his art. The past and present resonate strongly in his home state of Wyoming and those historical and contemporary chords echo throughout his pieces.

Much of Robert’s current work uses the historical imagery, myths and stories of both the West and Arapaho Culture combined with modern themes to create images that make a statement on the issues of today. Using intense vibrant color and contrasting shades of light and dark, he paints and draws striking forms that confront and engage the viewer.

His paintings and drawings have been shown across the USA and have garnered noted acclaim. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Red Cloud Heritage Museum, The Brinton Museum, The Plains Indian Museum at the Cody Center of the West, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. A strong supporter of Education and of the Arts, Robert is the Founder of the Creative Indigenous Collective and Northern Arapaho Artists Society, and is committed to helping and mentoring emerging artists on his reservation in Wyoming and the western region.

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