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Carly Treece Describes the Power of Native Art

Carly Treece Describes the Power of Native Art

“I wanted to become an artist to have my voice heard and to show how art can help us heal and process our inner selves.”

Being raised by a single mom who collected art and a grandmother that saw her artistic talent at a young age, you could say art is in Carly Treece’s blood. “My grandmother was Muskogee Creek, and she was a good artist. She saw that I also had talent and put me into art classes at a young age”. Carly, a citizen of the Muskogee Nation and Cherokee descent, was raised by strong native women and portrays this strength, bond, and sisterhood in all of her art. “Native women inspire a lot of my pieces,” explains Carly, “I like painting native women, the bond that they have and the things they go through.”

Art comes in from both sides of her family. On her father’s side, they are Cherokee, and Carly’s grandmother was also an artist, painting on feathers and bones while her father made drums. In fact, family and land seem to be the main influences on her art. Growing up in Oklahoma, there are many beautiful landscapes on native lands here, and Carly features much of that in her paintings. She often uses the technique of oil and cold wax to give it texture and movement.

Carly emphasizes how “Native art is powerful art; these are stories of survival, no matter what the medium, it is a story of survival”. Inspired by multiple contemporary and traditional native artists from Oklahoma, Carly calls out names like Dana Tiger, Anita Fields, Joy Harjo, Joan

Hill and Kay Walkingstick. “Art is a powerful tool for our community, and having our voices heard helps us heal, tell stories and brings us together. It’s a powerful visual language.”

During the pandemic, art helped me process everything going on.”

For Carly, The silver lining of covid was that it sparked the fire to dedicate more time to painting and using her art more as a language of activism. Carly explains how “in 2020, during the pandemic, art helped me process everything going on. I painted to keep myself busy, to de-stress and let out the anxieties in the world.” As an advocate for Indigenous rights, she hopes to start a non-profit helping indigenous women have better access to art, create a safe space to make art, and provide supplies and support. In the meantime, her art speaks volumes and is rooted in ancestral meaning and activism. Many of her paintings are curated for the Landback and MMIR movement and she often donates proceeds to NOISE- North Easter Oklahoma Indigenous Safety and Education- helping Indigenous families find missing relatives and combat domestic violence.

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Where to Buy Her Art:

Through September, you can purchase Carly’s art at the bar/art gallery, Lot No. 6, and at multiple community events this season. Her studio is called Tvlse Studios. Tvlse is the Muscogee spelling for Tulsa, founded initially after the forced removal from their homelands by the Locvpoka tribal town of Muscogee Nation. Originally tvlvhasse (old town) was eventually shortened to Tvlse and then named Tulsa.

Carly is a recent Fellow in the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities at the University of Tulsa. This class includes a diverse collection of students, faculty, and community members representing different areas of expertise, exploration, and practice, focused on this year’s theme: Freedom. For Carly, it seems that through painting, she is claiming her ancestral roots of freedom, sisterhood and honoring our land. Her grandparents would be proud.


Ready to Plan A Visit?

Lot No. 6: karaoke and art bar 1323 E 6th St

During the pandemic, art helped me process everything going on."

Local Hangouts & Restaurants

  • Bramble Breakfast and Bar: Area-sourced American eats, including all-daybreakfast, served in brick-lined,chandelier-lit digs. 1302 E 6th St
  • Take a yoga class at Be Love Yoga Studio 1310 E 6th St
  • Enjoy a cup of Joe at Cirque Coffee: Offbeat hangout with warehouse-like decor offering specialty house-roasted coffee drinks & beans. 1317 E 6th St

A Few Favorites From Carly Treece

  • Sharing a Blanket Under the Harvest Moon

    Sharing a Blanket Under the Harvest Moon

    This painting showcases the love between the three women.

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  • Fancy Shawl Dancer

    Fancy Shawl Dancer

    Look closely to observe the inscription.

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  • Storms Never Last

    Storms Never Last

    Carly loves the depth and movement of this piece.

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