Mehner named 2015 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow

Da-ka-xeen Mehner
Da-ka-xeen Mehner
Photo courtesy Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Da-ka-xeen Mehner, UAF assistant professor of Native arts, has been named a 2015 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mehner, a sculptor and photographer, will receive  a $25,000 unrestricted grant and participate in a exhibition with four other award fellows. The museum will showcase the fellows’ work from Nov. 14, 2015, through Feb. 14, 2016.

The museum will publish a catalogue of scholarly articles and essays giving an in-depth look at each artist. A celebration and award presentation will bring the artists to Indianapolis for public events. The museum also will purchase more than $100,000 of their art.

The Eiteljorg awards, founded in 1999, support Native contemporary artists and their legacy, insuring the greater understanding and appreciation of indigenous people in the 21st century. Since its inaugural class, nearly $1.25 million has been awarded to 50 artists.

“This year, the Eiteljorg celebrates its 25th anniversary and it’s a special time for commemoration and reflection,” said John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg president and CEO. “On this silver anniversary, as we stand back to assess our accomplishments and challenges and dream of what the future holds, nothing will be more important than the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship.”

Mehner, whose mother is Tlingit, was raised in Fairbanks and Anchorage. He earned undergraduate degrees at the Institute of American Indian Arts and the University of New Mexico, then founded the Site 21/21 gallery and 105 Art Studios in Albuquerque. He returned to Alaska in 2000 and earned his master’s in Native arts from UAF in 2007.

The other 2015 fellows are: Mario Martinez, from Brooklyn, New York; Luzene Hill, from Decatur, Georgia; Brenda Mallory, from Portland, Oregon; and Holly Wilson, from Mustang, Oklahoma.

For information about the Eiteljorg museum, call 317-636-9378 or visit

MORE INFORMATION: DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager, 317.275.1352 or