Above is the artist with one of his works depicting the red shawl dance performed at some powwows by Native American women who have been affected by violence. The following are excerpts from the Steven Premo Bio for the exhibit program and best describes the artist and his work. The following split painting is titled "The tree of life".
“My art is, or I would like my art to be, a story of a historical Native narrative. Though not literal events, I strive to honor my heritage through emotional interpretations. If I painted my cultural icons, it would just be a record of my background. But if I paint in the language of the majority as it relates to my culture, then there initiates a dialogue. Thus, a better understanding."
“At a young age I knew I wanted to create. At age 15 I had a great urge to paint and use color. After working on my drawing skills, which I considered the basis of all painting, I finally began painting several years later. Primarily self-taught, I did have some instruction…”
“Rembrandt was a great influence in my beginning years. His grasp of light intrigued my sensibilities for allegory. The storytelling in the late of the evening served as a reminder to me of growing up on the reservation gathered around the kerosene lamp. Van Gogh’s 'Potato Eaters' was a recollection of my house. A later influence was Kathe Kollwitz’s incredible charcoal drawings and prints telling of suffering.”
The below Premo art is titled "He smokes his pipe and speaks of horses".
“I was also invited to create the Mille Lacs Band Pendleton blanket and won a National design contest for the a 40th Anniversary commemorative Pendleton blanket for the National Indian Education Association…”
“For the Hinckley Fire Museum I painted a mural of an old man’s survival story of the 1896 fire. Along with George Parry, I participated in painting a large mural at the Lac Courte Orellies Cultural Center.”
The below image is of the Hinckley mural fire on display outside of the museum. It was done as a five year display and is still available 14 years later.
“Two of my most recent achievements and honors was (first) being asked to create a War Memorial plaque honoring the Minnesota American Indian Veterans…Then on January 15, 2014 in Las Vegas I received the National Pyramid Award for the 2013 Mille Lacs Band calendar that I created.” Below is the award winning National Pyramid Award and calendar.
Steve Premo is not a new artist to The Edge Center and its gallery. He has been a guiding force as The Edge moves toward more involvement in Native American culture and exhibits. His work was part of the gallery’s exhibits "This is Displacement" and "Powwow Perspectives."