Erica Lord (Athabascan/Iñupiat; born Nenana, AK, 1978; resides Santa Fe, NM) is an interdisciplinary artist who explores the contemporary Indigenous experience and the ways in which culture and identity manifest in a rapidly changing world. Lord grew up traveling between the Tanana Athabascan village of Nenana, Alaska, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which inspires her interest in themes of displacement and cultural limbo. Through her work, she examines her mixed-race cultural identity as the daughter of a Finnish-American mother and an Athabascan/Iñupiat father. Lord uses a variety of media—including photography, beadwork, performance, and large-scale installation work—to construct new, ambiguous, or challenging representations of identity. Her work often acknowledges Indigenous history and uses customary techniques and forms to shed light on pressing current events, like diseases that disproportionally impact Native and other marginalized communities.
Lord received her BA from Carleton College and an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has taught for many years, most recently as professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where she has also held an artist-in-residence. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Center for Contemporary Arts and Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), both in Santa Fe, the Musée du Quai Branley in Paris, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Erica Lord, Multiple Myeloma Burden Strap, DNA/RNA Microarray Analysis, 2022, glass beads and wire, 7 × 60 × 1 1/4 in., Courtesy of the artist and Accola Griefen Fine Art. Photo by Addison Doty.
Erica Lord, Adrenocortical Cancer Burden Strap, beads and string, 2021
Erica Lord, Leukemia Burden Strap, DNA/RNA Microarray Analysis, 2022, glass beads and wire, 7 1/2 × 94 1/2 × 1/4 in., Courtesy of the artist and Accola Griefen Fine Art. Photo by Addison Doty.