A Closer Look

A Closer Look is an activity for virtual visitors that can help find meaning in the art they observe.


Take the opportunity to view the images displayed on this page and answer the prompts for each piece.

Use the prompts to take a closer look at works of art in other museums, galleries, or your own environment.

This activity may be completed on your own, or with friends and family.


Note: Images have been optimized for desktops, laptops, tablets, and iPads.

Click for Audio Transcription


Welcome to the Wheelwright Museum learning place.

My name is Diane Reyna and I am the education coordinator here at the Wheelwright.

“A Closer Look” is an activity that can help people find deeper meaning in works of art that they are interested in. Or, that attracts their attention.

So, the basis of this activity is responding to several prompts as you observe an image from our exhibit.

Then, we hope that you will be able to use this technique as you go on to look at other works of art in your home, in magazines, it’s something you found in a magazine, or other museum or gallery websites.

STEP 1: Scroll right or left on the image to view images (click to enlarge).

Copyright Notice:

Images copyright protected by artists. Artwork used with permission.

Select an image and respond to each prompt.

  1. The first thing I see is…

  2. The other things I see are…

  3. The shapes I see are…

  4. The colors are…

  5. The surface looks…

  6. It looks like it is made of…

  7. It makes me feel…

  8. It reminds me of…

  9. I think the artist intended to express…

  10. To me, the piece expresses…

  11. One way this piece can be connected to my life is…

  12. I want to know more about…

  13. I will find out more by…

  14. My first step is…

For the best experience, we recommend the following:

  • Write or download prompts before starting (PDF or Microsoft Word).
  • Print or type your responses directly to the document.

STEP 2: Find out who created the artwork.

Heidi Brandow, b. 1981 (Diné/Kanaka Maoli)

Lost but Found, 2019

Acrylic, gesso, plaster, and polymer resin on wood

Wheelwright Museum Collection, Gift of Patricia MacLaughlin

Photo courtesy of Artist

Cara Romero, b. 1977 (Chemehuevi)

Last Indian Market, 2015

Archival pigment photography

Load from the artist courtesy of Peters Project

Photo courtesy of Artist

Steven J. Yazzie, b. 1970 (Navajo/Laguna Pueblo)

Dream Warrior, 2003

Oil and acrylic on canvas

Loan from the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Photo courtesy of Mark Wootcott

Unknown artist

Untitled (Toy Horse), ca. 1930

Wood, leather, wool, and horsehair

Wheelwright Museum Collection, Gift of J. O. Brew

If you enjoyed the artwork, you can view more on your cellphone!  Text “Wheelwright” to 56512, and receive a link to view smartphone exhibitions.

We invite you to explore our website to find more information about other exhibitions, publications, and the Case Trading Post.

STEP 3: Learn more about the artwork

Heidi Brandow (Click for Audio Transcription)

Hello, my name is Heidi Kehaulani Brandow. I am an interdisciplinary artist of the Diné and Kanaka Maoli ancestry. The painting you see today is entitled “Lost but Found,” and it’s a mixed medium painting, which is composed of wood that’s layered with gesso and plaster. Once those materials dry, the drawing and painting is then created with graphite, acrylic, and finally, a layer of an acrylic resin, which is what gives this painting it’s shiny finish.

Stylistically, “Lost but Found” represents a playful side of painting, that my work is closely associated. The style of imagery is very much inspired by my upbringing in Hilo; which had a strong Japanese cultural presence and aesthetic. Additionally, these playful images are also a sort of homage to the childhood stories I grew up hearing as a child on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance, Arizona. In both cultures, our origin stories are filled with adventure, journey, triumph, defeat, life, and death. This fascination and curiosity has subsequently evolved into this body of work that incorporates an ongoing fusion of society, pop culture, and my personal Indigenous experience in a contemporary context.

This painting is a type of examination on the idea of something being lost, or in other words, an inability to find one’s way, or denoting something that has been taken away. Simultaneously, it’s an examination of the idea of sound, which can be thought of as to come upon by searching, or effort, or to discover by study or experiment.

Conceptually, at this moment, this is where I find myself. I’m removed, but actively in the process of discovery. It is like the stories I referenced very much are a record of a particular journey or adventure in time. With that said, I am incredibly pleased that you’re here today to witness this work at this particular juncture.

Steven J. Yazzie (Click for Audio Transcription)

The “Dream Warrior” painting was inspired by an ongoing joke I had with a good painting buddy of mine back in Phoenix, Arizona. He often teased me about being born in California, and how regardless of being Native American, he was actually more native to Arizona than I was.  It was a pretty funny thought in the back of forth we always had about identity or romanticized views of Native people was always pretty engaging, but after one particular conversation, I mentioned to my friend Randy that, “You know what, you’re right man, let’s make it official and why don’t I paint your portrait as a Navajo dude.” We both thought it was pretty funny and absurd, and after a few outfit changes, and finding the right jewelry to match, the Dream Warrior portrait was born.  I think that’s how it happened?

Cara Romero (Click for Audio Transcription)

This large-scale photograph titled, “The Last Indian Market” was photographed in November 2014, in the Coyote Cafe in downtown Santa Fe. It’s a whimsical Hollywood celebrity style editorial portrait of “Buffalo Man,” a local performance artist icon played by Marcus Amerman, and an amazing group of contemporary Indian artists and curators. From left to right, it features Chris Eyre (Cheyenne Arapaho), Amber Dawn BearRobe (Blackfoot), Kenneth Johnson (Muskogee Creek/Seminole), Diego Romero as Judas (Cochiti Pueblo), Darren Vigil Gray (Jicarilla Apache), Kathleen Wall (Jemez Pueblo), Marcus Amerman (Choctaw), as Buffalo Man, Marion Denapah (San Juan Pueblo/Diné) Pilar Agoyo (San Juan/Cochiti Pueblo), Steve LaRance (Hopi), Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara), Linda Lomahaftewa (Hopi) and America Meredith (Cherokee.)  It is a parody of Leonardo Davinci’s “Last Supper.”

At the time, I was looking for iconic images that would serve as thoughtful collisions of Native American culture and popular mainstream culture and how the resulting interpretations would play out. The interpretations are rather limitless and while it’s meant to be playful, many serious issues come up. I was wondering is it possible today, in the age of globalization, to create new modes of cross-cultural art based on a comprehensive understanding of one culture, without losing your own culture and post-colonial times? This photo invites viewers to engage an alternative competing and opposing cultural perspectives, in light of a multi-cultural globalized world, where the understanding of other cultures becomes increasingly important. The irony of this photo is in the reflection of the dominant culture wherein much of Native American photography we’re focused on a glimpse into our traditional Native cultures. This photograph asserts that our Indigeneity is thriving amidst the dominant culture that we are resilient and modern, and with a rich sense of humor about it all; and after all humor is medicine.

Jonathan Batkin (Click for Audio Transcription)

Information provided by former Wheelwright Museum director, Jonathan Batkin.

This Toy Horse is one of the Wheelwright Museum’s greatest treasures. It was donated to the Museum in 1972 by John Otis Brew, who was a famous archaeologist from Harvard University, and also director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum. Brew was also a Trustee of the Wheelwright Museum and he explained that he had received the horse as a gift at Jeddito, Arizona in the 1930s.

The horse is a magical expression of folk art. The maker used a rasp and mud to give its final shape. He or she used leather from a Cap Toe dress shoe to make the saddle. Horsehair for the mane and tail, scraps of old buckskin for the bridle and straps, and tin for stirrups. The tiny saddle blanket may have been woven specifically for this horse. We are not aware of another Navajo toy of this vintage and significance in any of the world’s museums.

STEP 4: We rely on your input to help us improve!

Your personal information will not be shared.  Any data collected will assist in improving future online activities.

A Closer Look: Evaluation

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