Oklahoma City – An Oklahoma photographer whose work helped shape the perception of photography as a valid form of art in American Indian culture, Tom Fields’ work will be on exhibit in the State Capitol’s North Gallery through September 18.

The exhibit, titled, Nativescapes – A View from the Interior is free and open to the public weekdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The North Gallery is located on the State Capitol’s first floor.

In 1979, at a time when photography was not considered a serious “Indian art” medium, two of Fields’ documentary photographs portraying Native culture were the first to be accepted into the annual Indian Art Exhibition. Fields’ work has since provided a visual definition of what it means to be a Native American in Oklahoma.

For Nativescapes, Fields compiled photographs from his many years of working within the Native community. His works selected for the exhibit are creative and realistic, and inspired by what the artist describes as the “emotional landscapes of Native people.”

“To accurately portray Native people, one must understand the soul of what makes them persevere. For me, it’s being able to experience the depth of the culture, which is more than just artifacts, art, or dance; it’s the everyday movements of life such as the dinners, adoptions, naming, and family ceremonies,” Fields said.

Fields was born in Tahlequah but now resides in Stillwater where he works as a photojournalist and video producer for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technical Education.

Fields was educated in film by the Community Film Workshop Council in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He studied art at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. Since he began exhibiting in 1979, Fields has become widely recognized for his projects. In the past decade, Fields’ art has been featured at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; the Banff Centre in Banff, Canada; the New Orleans Museum of Art, and several exhibits in Oklahoma.

For more information contact Alyson Atchison at (405) 521-2020 or alyson.atchison@arts.ok.gov.

About the Oklahoma Arts Council
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Oklahoma. The Council’s mission is to lead, cultivate and support a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education and economic vitality for all Oklahomans.

About the Capitol Galleries
In addition to the permanent art of the Oklahoma State Capitol and the State Art Collection located in the Betty Price Gallery, the Oklahoma Arts Council manages three temporary Capitol galleries to support the work of current Oklahoma artists – the North, East, and Governor’s Galleries. Exhibits in the galleries are rotated every 60 days.


Joel Gavin
Director of Marketing and Communications
Oklahoma Arts Council
(405) 521-2037