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Featured Artist

Johnnie Lee Diacon

We are proud to feature Native American artist, Johnnie Lee Diacon. Born in 1963, he is an enrolled member of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, the Raprakko Etvlwa (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town), and he is Ecovlke (Deer Clan). While he was introduced to art a young age, it was in the 1980’s that he began to enter Indian art competitions as a self-taught artist. Afterward, he decided to seek formal art training at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Most of his traditional works are spiritual and ceremonial depictions which are done in the Bacone school, or Flatstyle of Indian Art in tempera and gouache on illustration board or watercolor paper. His Contemporary work is usually done on gessoed board or stretched canvas using either acrylics or oils and depict some of the secular life ways of modern Native Americans. His work is in the permanent collections of Bacone College, Muskogee, Oklahoma, the Creek Council House ​​Museum Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Indian Art Santa Fe, New Mexico, The Philbrook Museum of Art Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Dr. J. W. Wiggins Native American Art Collection at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Sequoyah National Research Center Little Rock, Arkansas. Johnnie has said, “By the honest portrayal of my people, I hope to break some of the stereotypes that many people have when they think about Indians.”

Diacon is now involved in paying homage to the historic role and invaluable service of Native Americans from World War 1 to Korea. He is one of nine Indigenous artists and writers whose works appear in the graphic novel compilation “Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers Volume 1” published by Native Realities Press in 2016. This book was selected to be featured as the December 2016 Book of the Month by the national call in radio program, Native America Calling. Code talkers came from various native tribes and utilized their native language to form uncrackable codes; however, their service went unrecognized until 1968. As much as the graphic novel recounts and gives credit to these unsung heroes, it also provides an opportunity for cross-cultural growth.

Johnnie has said, “By exploring the traditional stories and life ways of the Mvskoke in an artistic form that can be appreciated by both native and non-native alike, I hope to nurture an understanding between cultures.”


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