The renowned Seminole/Shawnee Indian artist Benjamin Harjo, Jr. was born on Sept. 19, 1945 in Clovis, NM. Benjamin graduated from Byng (OK) High School in 1964 & from the Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM) in 1966. From 1969 to 1971, Ben served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army. In 1974, Ben received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Oklahoma State University. He continued his studies at the University of Tulsa. He subsequently worked as a cultural recreational coordinator & teacher. Ben became a professional artist in 1976. He makes his home in Oklahoma City, OK.
Ben states that for him art is a lifelong learning process, in which he is constantly evolving & looking for fresh ideas. A brilliant colorist, his early work was more realistic, but over time he has changed his painting style emphasizing geometric depictions of Indian subjects. Benjamin has fun working with line & color, & his artwork displays his lively sense of humor. Ben works in oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, conte, pencil, pen & ink, pastel, clay, stone & prints.
Ben exhibits his artwork extensively & has won numerous awards at the Kimball Art Center (Park City, UT), the Aspen/snowmass (CO) Celebration for the American Indian, the American Indian Art Festival & Market (Dallas, TX), the American Indian & Cowboy Artists National Western Art Exhibition (San Dimas, CA), the Red Earth Inc. Buffalo Bash (Oklahoma city, OK), the Colorado Indian Market (Denver), the Cultural Arts of Native Americans (Norman, OK), the Cherokee National Museum (Tahlequah, OK), the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History & Art (Tulsa, OK), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), the Five civilized Tribes Museum (Muskogee, OK), the Kirkpatric Center Oklahoma Center for Science & Art (Oklahoma City, OK), the Owensboro (KY) Museum of Fine Arts, the Mayfest International Festival (Winston-Salem, NC), the Anniston (AL) Museum of Natural History, the Natural History Museum of LOS Angeles County (CA) American Indian Festival & Market, the Tulsa (OK) Garden Center Midwest professional Artists Benefit Art show, the Native American Center for the Living Arts (Niagara, NY), the Oklahoma Art Center Gallery's All-Oklahoma Indian Artists Invitational (Oklahoma City, OK), the Oklahoma Indian Art Program (Tulsa, OK), the Oklahoma State Art Collection (Oklahoma City, OK), the Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK), the Red Earth Festival (Oklahoma City, OK), the Riverside Museum (New York, NY), the San Diego (CA) Museum of Man, the Santa Fe (NM) Festival of the Arts, the Scottsdale (AZ) National Indian Art Exhibition, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts' Indian Market (Santa Fe, NM), the Tulsa (OK) Art Festival & Pow Wow, the Tallasi Winter Festival (Tulsa, OK), the University of Oklahoma Cultures & Arts of the Native Americans, the University of Tulsa (OK) Voices from the Land & the Wichita (KS) Indian Art Market & Festival.
Ben has had solo & special exhibits of his artwork at the Kirkpatric Center Museum Complex Center of the American Indian (Oklahoma City, OK), the Southern Plains Indian Museum & Craft Center (Anadarka, OK), the Wichita (KS) Indian Art Market & Exhibition & the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (santa Fe, NM). Ben's artwork also was featured in the Amarillo (TX) Art Center's Native American painting touring exhibit.
Ben's artwork is featured in numerous private & public art collections, including the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History & Art, the Museum of Art (Shawnee, OK) & the U.S. Embassy (Mogadishu, somalia).
In 1987, Ben was appointed the Arts coordinator for the Red Earth Festival. The same year, Ben's artwork was featured in the World Exposition of Historical Cities (Kyoto, Japan). In 1988, Ben was designated a Master Artist by the Five civilized Tribes Museum. In 1992, Ben was commissioned as the poster artist for the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market. The same year, Ben participated in the Franco-American Institute Exhibit (Rennes, France). In 1994, Ben was commissioned to design stage sets for the Tulsa (OK) Indian Actor's workshop. The same year Ben was commissioned as the poster artist for the Indian Arts & Crafts Association (Albuquerque, NM).