Contemporary Native Art to Russia

This website shows the art and artists involved in the June-July 2012 Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Art and the September-October 2012 Novosibirsk State Museum of Art biennial.

Chris Pappan

Born in 1971, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

1992, Associate’s degree in Fine Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

1993, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA
Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chris Pappan, a Chicago-based artist of Kaw, Osage, Cheyenne River Sioux heritage, was raised in Flagstaff, Arizona by his hippy mother and stepfather. After graduating high school with several art awards, he attended the Institute of American Indian arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where, in-between partying and carousing, he searched for a direction for his art. Living in the Southwest, he was bombarded by images of howling coyotes and “End of the trail” images, which he found unsatisfying. After graduating from IAIA. Mr. Pappan moved to Chicago to experience a “big city” lifestyle. He took a couple of classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, which he found too expensive and uninspiring. Working on his own, he taught himself to paint and became influenced by various art movements, including Pop, Surrealism, and the Lowbrow art style that combines street art, like comic books, graffiti, and punk music, with studio art. When Pappan brought these influences together with his Native American heritage, he found the voice he was looking for. As a self-described “Native American Lowbrow artist,” his artwork is gives Plains ledger drawing images from the mid- to late-nineteenth century a decidedly twenty-first-century twist. His art reflects the dominant culture's distorted perceptions of Native peoples while proclaiming that "we are still here!" His art explores how Native Americans are seen in the contemporary world. As he writes in his artist’s statement, “I distort images because people perceive a distorted image of Native Americans in the collective conscience.” He has won several prestigious prizes in Native arts, including the Discovery Fellowship from the Southwestern Association of Indian Artists (SWAIA) in 2011 and the Heard Muesum’s Best of Class (Paintings, Drawings, etc.) and Best of Division (drawing) at the 52nd Annual Indian Market 2010. His work is in the collections of the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence Kansas, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Evanston Illinois, The Schingoethe Center for Native Studies in Aurora Illinois and private collections around the world. Mr. Pappan has lived in Chicago for the past 18 years with his wife Debra Yepa-Pappan, and their daughter Ji Hae.

For more information, please visit:

Chris Pappan, Thank You Grandmother, archival digital inkjet original, 2009

Chris Pappan, Figure C, archival digital inkjet original,, 2011

Chris Pappan, The Indian According to Hoyle, archival digital inkjet original, 2008