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, Leah 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 element 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 hand-gathered local shells of the coastal California region.
Leah has become a regular at the Santa Fe Indian Market and Heard Museum Shows, where she enters works in multiple categories. She is an award winning artist whose honors include the Autry Indian Market 2012 - Best in Diverse Cultural Arts, Heard Museum Fair 2013, 2016 - First Place, Traditional Attire, and most recently Best of Class for Personal Attire with the regalia dress "North Star Mother - She Guides Our Futures."
In 2011 Leah was awarded the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, and a Master Artist recipient for ACTA 2013.
Leah has recently been profiled in First American Art Magazine's Winter Issue No. 22.
Learn more about this artist at her site, Leah Mata, "saqwamu...a place where things are made."