Melinda Schwakhofer

Melinda Schwakhofer

Melinda is at the confluence of multiple streams. She is an American artist and citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation with Austrian-American ancestry, who now lives and works on Dartmoor in the UK.

Her work draws from her personal story, her family roots and her Muscogee ancestry. In it, she explores the intersection of the images we carry of ourselves, how these are formed, and how they can be changed over time through self-discovery.

Born in Los Angeles in 1963, Melinda began working with textiles in 1996. Since then, her practice has expanded to include painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and photography.

As a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Melinda’s Indigenous roots have become an increasingly central theme in her practice. As with many people of Native ancestry, Melinda grew up tangled in a web of inherited trauma and unresolved grief which has been handed down through the generations and which demonstrated itself keenly in her own family.

Through her personal artistic journey and training as a Counselling Psychologist, she believes that deep healing can be achieved through art making. “Art making has given me a way to process and speak about emotions and events – both personal and historic - for which it may sometimes be difficult to find the right words.”

Melinda is an internationally exhibited, award-winning artist. Her work is currently (2020/21) featured in the ‘First Americans’ exhibition at the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Netherlands, created to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the departure of the Mayflower from that city in 1620. In July 2020, her piece ‘The Road to Oklahoma’ was awarded second place in Trail of Tears Art Show, curated by the Cherokee Heritage Centre in Talehquah, Oklahoma, USA.