Northern Paiute artist’s work to be displayed at Nevada Legislature |

Northern Paiute artist’s work to be displayed at Nevada Legislature

Guy Clifton

Special to First Nation's Focus

Melissa Melero-Moose, a Northern Paiute Native American artist, poses in her home on Monday, Jan 2, 2017 in Hungry Valley, Nev.
Photo: Kevin Clifford / Nevada Photo Source

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Native American artist Melissa Melero-Moose finds inspiration for her mixed media creations from the landscape and culture of the Northern Paiute of the Great Basin.

“Willows, tules, cattails and pine nuts are all very important staples to the Paiute people, being sources of food, shelter and implements made with artistic intention,” she said. “I consider these works to be a perspective of my tribe and culture through the eyes of a Native woman, mother and artist.”

Melero-Moose’s work is featured in the exhibit, “Translating Paiute,” which goes on display Monday, April 8, at the Nevada Arts Council’s Legislative eXhibition Series (LXS) Gallery inside the Nevada Legislative Building.

Throughout the 2019 Legislative session, the works of six Nevada artists is being featured. Melero-Moose, a member of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe who lives in Hungry Valley, is the fourth of the six artists, and her display will remain in place through April 26.

Born in San Francisco, Melero-Moose grew up in Reno. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a Bachelor of Science from Portland State University in Oregon.

The process of Melero-Moose’s works evolves from painting abstract figures and landscapes to the experimental combining of mediums and objects to create her current mixed media work. Her ideas of applying willow and other objects to the canvas came from her family coming together to make each part of her son’s cradleboard.

“From the willow alignment to the beadwork for his cradleboard hood, I saw each part separately before it was assembled and wanted to document that series of creation,” she said.

Melero-Moose layers organic objects, sand, an acrylic washes to create a pictorial view of the Great Basin told through a textural surface.

“These protruding images and highly textured surfaces transform from two-dimensional canvas to three-dimensional objects when I attach the willow, pine nuts, or found objects to the surface,” she said. “I view these works as a personal collaboration of my culture, individual development and curious expression of the world around me. My intention is to share with others the beauty of the Great Basin area, people and culture.”

Melero-Moose exhibits her art regionally and nationally and has won numerous awards and acknowledgment for her work from the Nevada Arts Council, SWAIA Indian Market and Native artist fellowships from the Nevada Museum of Art, School for Advanced Research, the Southwest Association of Indian Arts and the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe.

She is currently a Peter S. Poole Research Fellow at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno.

Go to to learn more about Melissa Melero-Moose or to purchase her work.

Guy Clifton is Public Relations Specialist for the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, focusing on museums, arts and Indian news.


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