About Matagi

photo by Steven Toya

My name is Matagi Sorensen. I am from Verde Valley, Arizona, and am a member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. I completed a Bachelor’s of Fine Art with a Major in Metal-smithing through Northern Arizona University in 2011.

All of my work is handmade; many pieces are one-of-a-kind. I especially enjoy working with unusual stones, a majority of them from the southwest.

To purchase any items on this blog, please visit matagifineart.com. If you see a piece that you like and it is SOLD, please contact me at matagisorensen@gmail.com.

Media
NANAI Film Project – Modern Indian Students, upcoming release 2014
Northern Arizona University: Iron Will, December 2012 - Article and Video
South Scottsdale Magazine, May 2012
The Arizona Daily Sun, January 29, 2012
School Arts Magazine, October, 2011
Mountain Living Magazine, June 2011
The Arizona Daily Sun, April 24th, 2011
Northern Arizona News Today: The LumberJack, April 19th, 2011
Arizona Daily Sun, January 31, 2011 - Viola Award Nominees

Exhibitions
Pueblo Grande Museum Auxillary logoDecember 14 & 15, 2013: Pueblo Grand Museum Indian Market, Pueblo Grande Museum, 4619 East Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ ~ Saturday 9am – 5pm | Sunday 9am – 4pm
JURIED SHOW

logo_AIAM_2013 (2)November 9th & 10th, 2013: American Indian Arts 2013 Marketplace at the Autry, The Autry Museum in Griffith Park, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA
JURIED SHOW

museum of natural history utahOctober 12 & 13, 2013: Indian Art Market, Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center of The University of Utah, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, Utah
JURIED SHOW
piam 13 logo-webJuly 13 & 14, 2013: 16th Annual Prescott Indian Art Market, Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 West Gurley Street, Prescott, Arizona
JURIED SHOW
** Award winner in the Jewelry Category**

eiteljorg-museum-of-american-indians-and-western-artJune 22 & 23, 2013: 2013 Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival, Eiteljorg Museum,  500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
JURIED SHOW

March 2 & 3, 2013: 55th Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, The Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
JURIED SHOW

December 8 & 9, 2012: Pueblo Grande Museum 36th Annual Indian Market, Pueblo Grande Museum, 4619 East Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ
JURIED SHOW

July 14th and 15th, 2012: 15th Annual Prescott Indian Art Market, Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, AZ
JURIED SHOW

February 18th & 19th, 2012: Southwest Indian Arts Fair, Arizona State Museum (front lawn): University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
INVITED ARTIST – JURIED SHOW

April 29, 2011: Hollow Body of Work BFA Exhibition at the Beasley Gallery: Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ

June/July 2010: Native American Art Exhibition – Flagstaff Cultural Partners: Coconino Center for the Arts
JURIED SHOW

Spring 2010: Northern Arizona University Sendai (NAU in Japan) Show
JURIED SHOW

Necklace – Hollow Form Reticulated Silver

November/December 2009: “It’s Elemental” 9th Annual Fine Crafts Exhibition – Flagstaff Cultural Partners: Coconino Center for the Arts
JURIED SHOW

November/December 2008: “It’s Elemental” 8th Annual Fine Crafts Exhibition – Flagstaff Cultural Partners: Coconino Center for the Arts
Student Portion
JURIED SHOW

Awards
silver pearl necklace_5June 2014, Second Prize in Contemporary Jewelry Category at the Eiteljorg Indian Art Market for my Brushed Silver and Pearl Hollow Form Necklace
July 2013, Second Prize in Jewelry Category at the 16th Annual Prescott Indian Art Market for my Hollow Form Reticulated Silver Necklace
August 2012, Top 5 Finalist, Halstead Grant Competition
March 3rd, 2012  2012 Viola Award Nominee in Emerging Artist category, presented by Flagstaff Cultural Partners
2011  2011 Viola Award Nominee in Emerging Artist category, presented by Flagstaff Cultural Partners
2010 Whiteman Scholarship for Fine Art
2006 – 2007 Commitment to excellence—original and creative thought in Jewelry I, Yavapai College
2004 Commitment to excellence—quantum leap in skills in Ceramics, Yavapai College

Teaching
Desert Marigold Waldorf Charter School, Phoenix, Arizona
High School Fine Arts
August 2012 to present

Lectures/Speaking Engagements
May 26, 2013: NANAI—Netherlands Association for North American Indians 40th Anniversary Celebration
Subject: TBD
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Artist Bio
Although the conditions of my childhood were less than ideal—we were often hungry, stressed and anxious—it is where my appreciation for being an artist as a lifestyle first started forming. I didn’t grow up strictly on the reservation, though I always thought of it as home, or at least home base. My family lived like modern gypsies—without conventional schooling or regular doctor’s visits—we lived under the radar, moving from town to town, motel to motel, making crafts as a family unit.

Being home-schooled, I learned some of the basics in reading and mathematics, comparable to a second grade education. The rest of the time was spent making arts and crafts for the family business. While we would frequently pack up and relocate to avoid capture by the authorities, I found sanctuary and a sense of control in the chaos through my art.

Curved Hand-carved “Silver Lace” Bracelet

We eventually lived outside for extended periods of time, the most memorable period lasting about eight months. I loved the freedom and potential I felt living outdoors—it was such a contrast to living in cheap motels with vibrating beds, tightly drawn curtains and dark shag carpeting. When I lived outside life felt light and free—I would paint on sandstone with brushes I made from cactus fibers. Sometimes I would mix ground ashes with water when I ran out of paint—it felt like nothing could stop creation in that environment.

When I was fifteen we moved back to the reservation and I started working for the tribe in a summer program. While working for the tribe, one of my managers saw that I had potential, and he encouraged me to get my diploma and get a higher education.

At 24, I enrolled in college. By the time I arrived at NAU, I was a single parent going to school full-time while raising a disabled daughter. Because of my education in art, I was able view the world from different perspectives, and it was how I gained the ability to communicate with my daughter and understand her unique point of view. Art and music is also how my child experiences leaps and bounds in her cognitive growth and her ability to communicate.

My time at NAU was bittersweet. The hours were long, and the first year was tricky, especially with raising my daughter and getting to know people. But as I got more established, and as my art got more established, I found Flagstaff to be an extremely supportive community for my art and for my daughter. I saw both my creativity and my daughter blossom as I completed my degree.

Some people say that art is frivolous—for me it’s a necessity. It’s through art that I understand and navigate the world. Observing my daughter and looking at my own history, art is essential for children no matter what their upbringing or capabilities. Art has not only been crucial for my survival, it’s been vital for my ability to thrive.