Dana Claxton was born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and is a member of the Hunkpapa Lakota Nation. Her family is descended from Sitting Bull’s followers, who fled persecution from the U.S. Army in 1876 after the Battle of Little Bighorn by escaping into Canada. Claxton talks about her heritage and experiences as they relate to her art making: “I’m influenced by my own experience as a Lakota woman, as a Canadian, a mixed blood Canadian, and then my own relationship to the natural and supernatural world. So taking that whole bundle of experiences, it all goes into the artwork, I think that’s where the multi-layering comes in because I’ve had a very multi-layered life.” (Willard, 2007)
Tania Willard describes Claxton’s process and work : “[S]tarting from grandmothers and ancestors, land and sky, rage and beauty, Dana Claxton weaves images, sounds, and ideas together with a sense of balance, subversion, and hope. Dana’s work is situated in place, remembering, and history, bringing these elements together in surreal homages and explorations. Dana’s work is part of a journey – the journey of identity of self and Nation (both Indigenous nations and Canadian Nationhood), the journey of history, and the journey of the spirit.” (Willard, 2007)
Claxton is a multidisciplinary artist, working in installation, performance and visual art. She is an artist whose challenging works have strong political messages. She is an active member of the arts community and has participated on juries, advisory committees and is involved in discussions, youth mentoring and curatorial projects.