Biographical / Historical
Shan Goshorn (1957-2018) was an Eastern Band Cherokee Artist whose work addresses human rights issues, particularly those of indigenous peoples. Goshorn worked with many different media, including photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture. In 2008, Goshorn was commissioned to create illustrations of Cherokee basket patterns for the Department of the Interior Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Having closely studied the baskets and their construction, she then decided to try making them, and soon mastered complex designs. Goshorn became best known for her baskets, which represent a contemporary approach to a traditional art.
Goshorn's baskets are made of paper splints, and often incorporate historical texts and photographs. The paper is printed with either text or photographs, sometimes hand-painted, and then cut into splints. Typically the baskets have photographs as the warp, and text as the weft so the photographs are reformed with words running through them.
In 2013, Goshorn received a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, and spent time studying the Carlisle Indian School photographs by John N. Choate at the National Anthropological Archives. From this fellowship came more than five baskets that address the trauma inflicted by the boarding schools on young Indian children. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian and many other private and public collections.
Philip Earenfight, ed. Shan Goshorn: Resisting the Mission. The Trout Gallery: Dickinson College, 2018.