Raised on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, Keri Ataumbi was exposed to both traditional Native American aesthetics and contemporary art theory and practice from an early age. She is a member of the Kiowa Nation of Oklahoma. Ataumbi attended Rhode Island School of Design before moving to Santa Fe in 1990. After moving to Santa Fe she worked as a landscape designer while attending the Institute of American Indian Arts and eventually received a BFA in painting with a minor in art history from the College of Santa Fe. Her work has been recently profiled in The New York Times, Vogue, and Ornament Magazine. She currently lives and works in the Cerrillos hills outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work is in museum collections around the globe.
“My jewelry has a conceptual narrative exploration as its core. I use traditional Kiowa imagery and materials in a contemporary form.”
Assuming jewelry is a form of art, there is any number of standard mass-produced pieces. Alongside these easily recognized, easy to wear, staid mass marketable pieces, there is the fashion market, aimed to support trendy baubles. There is also ethnic jewelry, rooted in tradition, but more and more being made in mass for tourists. However, emerging across the world and standing apart from these previously mentioned approaches to jewelry is the unique category of wearable art. In creating this type of jewelry, the artist develops a concept and design, addresses the relationship between object and the body and thus engages in and deepens the discussion of fine art.