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Oreland Joe

Trail of Red Mountain,
Alabaster, 24 1/2" x 23 1/2" x 12 1/4" ©


A native of Shiprock, New Mexico where his heritage is Navajo and Ute, Oreland Joe has become a highly recognized sculptor in the West of Indian figure subjects. He is the first Native American to be elected to the Cowboy Artists of America.

His favorite sculptor is Antonio Canova, an 18th-century Italian sculptor, whose work studied on a trip to Italy in 1986. Joe works primarily in stone including alabaster, marble, and limestone.

Oreland Joe was raised in a family with a musically talented mother and artistically inclined father who was a truck driver and jewelry maker. They encouraged his art interest, and one of his teachers, Mary L Peterson, realizing his talent, gave him alabaster to carve. After high school, he worked as an illustrator for the Shiprock School District in New Mexico and also studied at the Louvre in Paris and the Tokyo Museum of Art, Sculpture Department. In France, he also spent six weeks as a hoop dancer in a Native American Dance troop and spent much time in museums.

He has been an instructor at the Cowboy Artists of America Museum, the Scottsdale Artists School, and San Juan College. Joe has also done mural work including one for the high school in Kirkland.

In 1993, he was elected to the Cowboy Artists of America, and in 1996, he was commissioned by both the Ponca City Native American Foundation in Oklahoma and the Southern Ute Tribe to create Native American Monuments. One of his largest pieces is Ponca chief Standing Bear, erected in Ponca City. He and his family live in Kirtland, New Mexico.

Oreland C. Joe won top honors at the 37th Annual (2002) Cowboy Artists of America Sale and Exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum. Joe's sculpture "Shawl Dancers" won both the Kieckhefer Award for best in show and the Gold Medal for Sculpture.

He described his work as "somewhere between realism and abstraction held in unity by an underlying mystical philosophy" ("Southwest Art", January 1988)


Exhibition Catalogues, Cowboy Artists of America, Phoenix Art Museum
"Southwest Art", January 1988

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Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas. Site last updated January 2004.