Leah Mata, Northern Chumash
Leah Mata is a diverse mediums artist of the Northern Chumash People of Central California. She works as a traditional artist while creating contemporary living forms of regalia and jewelry, allowing collectors the opportunity to experience the California Indian arts. In addition to a B.A. in Anthropology and a Masters in Cultural Sustainability, she is an instructor at the famed Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA), the four year art college for Native American students.
Leah is a strong proponent of Indigenous Artists exploring the possibilities of form, shape, design, and presentation of artwork, which allows for very contemporary perspectives of culture. Yet, she also creates some of the most traditional pieces offered by the Native American Peoples. Just one portion of a Chumash dress she made, the sash, required collecting the green feathers from male mallard ducks, an endeavor requiring over one year. Her traditional necklaces also utilized the local shells of the coastal California region.
Leah has become a regular at the Santa Fe Indian Market and Heard Museum Shows, where she is enters works in multiple categories. She is an award winning artist and has been awarded top honors such as the Autry Indian Market 2012-Best in Diverse Cultural Arts, Heard Museum Fair 2013, 2016- First Place, Traditional Attire. In 2011 Leah was awarded the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, and a Master Artist recipient for ACTA 2013.