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Indigenous Brilliance by Joseph Lewis Erb

Indigenous Brilliance

by Joseph Lewis Erb

Digital Illustration, Copper Panels
Project Agency: First Americans Museum
Artwork Location: 658 First Americans Blvd
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73129

The Artwork

Joseph Erb illustrated the story of First American people in Indigenous Brilliance. The sequence of silhouetted figures depicts our past, present, and future. The diverse design motifs represent the many tribal communities. The interacting figures honor how our cultures and philosophies are passed between generations. Erb is a nationally recognized artist.

A project of the Oklahoma Arts Council’s Art in Public Places program

in cooperation with Native American Cultural and Educational Authority.

The Artist

Joseph Erb is an artist, computer animator, film producer, and educator enrolled in the Cherokee Nation. He is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri in the School of Visual Studies. Joseph has spent much of his life working to integrate Cherokee language into the latest technologies. In 2002, Erb created the first ever Native American computer animation, as well as the first ever computer animation in the Cherokee language titled, “The Beginning They Told”.  He has taught animation to Muscogee Creek and Cherokee students using traditional stories in their own Native language for over eight years.
Erb has spent years working on projects that expanded the use of the Cherokee language in technologies and new media. These projects resulted in several successes such as; Cherokee language on the iPhone, Cherokee Google Search engine, Gmail in Cherokee, Facebook in Cherokee and Microsoft Operating System Windows 8 in Cherokee. He helped to create working relationships between Cherokee Nation and technology companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft that still exist today. His award-winning digital stories are shown in film festivals across the world.  In 2016 he received the Cherokee Nation Community Leadership award and in 2017 he received the Cherokee Nation Community Organization award for strengthening the Cherokee language and culture, including the Remember the Removal program. His work crosses many disciplines in service to Cherokee community, culture, and language.
In addition to animation, Erb is also a painter, jeweler, sculptor and textile designer. His works can be found at the Hard Rock Catoosa, Cherokee Casino-Roland, Fred Jones Museum, Spider Gallery and many more locations.