Artist Creates Work Reflecting Her Heritage

Published in print and online at The Auburn Journal September 20, 2009

Patricia Bradley’s sculptures on display in Old Town

Patricia Bradley’s art started as a hobby, but creating sculptures inspired by her heritage has quickly grown into a career for the Auburn resident.

Bradley began taking lessons at local studios. Soon after, her work was featured in the Auburn Artwalk. All proceeds were intended to benefit “HEART” (Health Education Africa Resource Team), a local organization dedicated to improving health and welfare in Africa.

“Sadly, I literally had not one sale,” Bradley said.

However, she was still determined to help. Over the course of two mission trips to Africa, Bradley helped thousands of Africans battle malaria. What she saw and experienced in Africa had an impact on her artwork as well.

“My work had taken on a tribal feel,” she said.

Bradley was encouraged by her niece, a fellow artist whose work focused on the family’s Native American heritage and works on the Tesuque reservation in Santa Fe, to get more involved with art and her heritage. Bolstered by their support, Bradley sent slides of her work to Santa Fe’s “Indian Market,” a juried art show and one of the largest events showcasing Native American art in the world.

“I was accepted, and off to Santa Fe and a sold-out show,” Bradley said. She just recently returned from her second year at the Indian Market, and already has her pieces for sale in several galleries.

“I am now showing in the Convergence Gallery on the plaza in Santa Fe, N.M.,” she said. “Every Native American artist’s dream.”

Bradley’s pieces are also on display in Lovett’s Gallery in Tulsa, Okla., and at the OZ Gallery here in Auburn. She uses a variety of mediums, including wax casting to create masks.

The masks and small sculptures on display now are part of a series entitles “Two Little Indian Girls.” Bradley says she has a studio in her Auburn home where she creates her pieces. She sells them in “triptychs,” sets of three.

Bradley said her recent work is “more Native American, more fantasy” inspired than her previous art. This focus on her heritage as a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is explained in a statement printed on fliers advertising her shows:

“I come from the lost generations of Native Americans. My father was part of the Native American Indian Assimilation Act. He was a proud member of the Ojibwa Nation but sadly he was removed from his family and homelands at an early age. He also got lost … Despite times of sadness we were a people of great joy and pride.”

Visit the OZ Gallery on Sacramento Street in Auburn to view or purchase Bradley’s work.



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