Sharon Irla is a contemporary Cherokee artist whose collective art work spans the fields of painting, murals, graphics and photography.
She was born in 1957 and currently resides in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Here she works from her private home studio.
Her current artistic focus is that of oil paintings. These she does of mostly portraits of Native American women. She attempts to capture the contemporary, traditional and historical Cherokee feminine and matriarchal themes. Sharon is very purposeful in researching and choosing subject matters that will illustrate the presence and importance of Native American women – both in historic and contemporary settings.
Sharon’s historic-themed portraits of Cherokee women begin to fill a gender gap left by previous generations of artists. For her contemporary themes, she uses live models in dress, pose, and settings. Here she seeks to shows the complexity of the “everyday” native woman by balancing her in the cusp of traditional roots and modern living.
According to Sharon, “Throughout history, Native American women have been depicted in art far less often than Native American men, yet women played at least as important a role. For instance, the Cherokee used to have a Council of Women, and some Cherokee women, like Nanyehi (Nancy Ward), rose to the honored status of Beloved Woman, or War Woman. These women rendered considerably weighty tribal decisions, but we don’t find paintings of many of them.”
Sharon Irla has received many awards for her artwork. Enjoy some of her beautiful paintings below.
"SAVE XINGU - Tribute To Cacique Raoni"
"From The Garden Within"
"Necessity Is The Mother"
"She Was A Warrior"