March 2016

BOOK PROFILE: The Sound of Drums: A Memoir of Lloyd Kiva New

Sunstone Press, 2016


Written by Lloyd Kiva New himself and edited by Ryan S. Flahive, archivist at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), The Sound of Drums is a personal look at the celebrated Native American artist, fashion designer and educator.


New inspired thousands of artists and students during his career. His humble beginnings in rural Oklahoma awakened an obsession with nature and a connection to his Cherokee roots—a connection he sought to strengthen throughout his life.


New’s story is one of inspiration, creativity and a lifelong search for meaning. The book offers a series of personal anecdotes, supplemented by historic photographs and appendices. New experienced firsthand the Great Depression, the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the struggles of a Native man in an assimilationist society. After helping put Scottsdale, Arizona, on the map as an arts and crafts center and becoming a successful commercial artist, he gave up fame and fortune to teach art at IAIA in Santa Fe.


The former chief of the Cherokee Nation, the Honorable Wilma Mankiller, contributed a foreword to the manuscript before her passing in 2010. She remarked, “The Sound of Drums is an important book about a visionary artist who literally transformed the landscape of Native American art in the Southwest.”

The book’s release coincides with the 100th anniversary of Lloyd Kiva New’s birth and is part of a year-long celebration at cultural and educational institutions in Santa Fe. It is available at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the IAIA bookstore, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the New Mexico Museum of Art.




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