Her Achievements

Apolonia Susana Santos

Apolonia Susana Santos

“When I sit as my ancestors did perched on a wooden scaffold above the waterfalls at Tlxni in Oregon’s Central Plateau, I am connected by heritage to Nature and the natural elements. My paintings aim to reflect our homelands and Indigenous way of life. My study of the night sky, wind and water has taught me to use my paint brush as a dowser to capture the Sacred, the heart and mystery of the unconscious. Art, in my world, is a continual state of being. It is from this metaphysical foundation that my art is created.”

—A. Susana Santos

A Life of Achievement

Art Exhibits and Tours

Apolonia's art work has appeared in 26 gallery exhibitions and three traveling exhibitions including:

  • Artistas Indigenas U.S. Tour & Leningrad, Moscow in the former U.S.S.R.
  • The Pacific N.W. Lewis & Clark Traveling Exhibition
  • ‘Honor the Earth’ Indigenous Peoples Tour

She also participated yearly in the Tribal Art Show at the Museum at Warm Springs.

In addition, Santos’ art work and writings appeared in several publications: ‘We, the People’ NYC 1987, Faces of a Reservation, Oregon Historical Society 1988, Women Of Power Magazine, 1990 and The Indigenous Woman Magazine, 1995.


Cultural Liaison for Warm Springs

After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon, Apolonia Susana Santos returned to the Reservation to help her community, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Santos established the Kah-nee-ta Gallery of Art at the High Desert Resort and Casino encouraging local artists to not only present their work in this public forum but also to stretch and grow artistically.

She established a Native youth summer arts program coordinated with the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) for Warm Springs youth to study in Portland. This program, known as the A. Susana Santos Journeys in Creativity, has grown over time and now includes Native youth in the Portland area and from other Oregon Tribes.

As Art and Cultural Liaison for the Warm Springs Tribe, Susana authored Tribal Initiatives that included her vision for an Artists Village Complex with artist painting and printmaking studios, sound, film and video studios and an Indigenous Medicine Lodge. She inspired many people in Warm Springs and throughout the N.W. to come together and complete these projects.

Awards and Degrees

Susana's artistic awards include:

  • 2006 Potlatch Fund Award for Native Arts
  • 2006 Community Spirit Award First Peoples Fund, Rapid City, SD
  • 2004 Spirit of the Arts Award, The Museum at Warm Springs
  • 1982 Timberline Purchase Award- The Museum at Warm Springs
  • Circa 1980, 2nd Place Award – UNESCO Visitation, UC Davis, CA.

Susana earned a Bachelor of Fine Art’s Degree (BFA) from the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon (1998-2001). She attended the San Francisco Art Institute (1979- 82)


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