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Southern Plains Indian Museum, Anadarko, Oklahoma

Roy Boney Jr.

July 12 - Oct 4, 2013

Roy Boney Jr. was born in Tahlequah, OK on December 1, 1978. He is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. His parents are Roy and Gloria Boney.

In 1997 he graduated from Locust Grove High School, Locust Grove, OK. In 2002 he received a BFA in graphic design from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, and a print making apprenticeship at Universal Limited Art Editions in West Islip, NY. In 2007 Roy obtained a MA in studio art from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, AK.

Currently he works for the Cherokee Language Technologist at Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, OK.

The awards Roy is most proud of include The Best of Show Award at the Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale 2006, Magazine Cover of the Year 2011 Finalist for the The American Society of Magazine Editors on an illustration for Indian Country Today magazine, several awards over the years for painting and drawing at the Trail of Tears Show, the Cherokee Homecoming Show, and the Cherokee Holiday show. Roy also had the honor to have participated in the Art en Capital Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à l'Eau held in the historic Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées in Paris, France as part of the Délégation Amérindienne 2012 art exhibit. This was an experience of a lifetime.

Roy primarily works with acrylic, watercolor, ink, and pencil. Along with digital and combining traditional with digital to form his own unique style.

He has always been intrigued by the idea of storytelling and growing he was an avid reader of science fiction, horror, and fantasy novels as well as comic books and cartoons. Raised as a Cherokee and growing up in a small Cherokee speaking community the language is important to him. Today his work is informed by pop elements like comics, humor, and Cherokee language. He describes his work as contemporary art based heavily on Cherokee traditions, stories, and language.

"The simplest way to describe my work is a fusion of Cherokee culture, language, and identity with the experience of contemporary life. My main goal is storytelling. A secondary goal is to get across to people that I am a modern individual and live in contemporary society, too. I'm not an ancient Indian relegated to history. I have a laptop and cell phone just like most people do!"

Roy's artwork is in the collections Cherokee Heritage Center and the J.W. Wiggins Collection, as well as several other private collectors throughout the country. His work can be regularly seen at the Tribes 131 Gallery in Norman, OK and at the Cherokee Arts Center in Tahlequah.

Personal Statement

I am an artist of the contemporary world, and in the history of indigenous art, the idea of the individual artist creating art for the sake of making a statement is relatively new, an idea that is heavily based in Western art philosophy. Most objects were made to be utilitarian. Each thing has its purpose and reason for being. I make no qualms about my work. It does not serve a useful purpose in the sense that no one in my community will use it to make bread or draw water from a well or use it for ceremony. Having said that, one great part of the shared Cherokee experience is our history of adaptability. We have a long history of adapting and adopting things and making them our own. One of the most famous examples is Sequoyah's creation of the Cherokee syllabary. He created a writing system for us, and throughout history, we adapted it to various forms of communication technology such as the printing press, typewriters, computers, and now digital devices such as cell phones and tablets. Taking from our history of adapting to change, I pursue my art with the same mindset. I am an individual in my time, and I wish to express concepts and ideas of my era. I express those through the vocabulary of subjects in contemporary society that interest me such as technology and popular culture and filter them through my identity as a Cherokee in the twenty-first century. Whether informed by dreams, stories, or just a joke I heard at work, I hope my art expresses to viewers stories - not only my stories but maybe even parts of their own stories, too.



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Indian Arts and Crafts Board
U.S. Department of Interior
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MS 2528-MIB
Washington, DC 20240
Telephone: (202) 208-3773
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Director: Meridith Z. Stanton
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