James L. Lavadour, 1984

James Lavadour—a self-taught painter, the a son of a Walla Walla tribe member, and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation—describes his images as "emotional and visceral landscapes based on the geography of [his] homeland." As a child, Lavadour was influenced by his mother’s painting, bead work, and weaving.

In 1992, Lavadour founded the Crows Shadow Institute to provide Native American artists with a place to develop their art. The institute operates a printmaking studio, a gallery, a photography darkroom, and a computer graphics lab on the Umatilla Reservation.

Lavadour has won many honors for his work, most recently from the Joan Mitchell Foundation of New York (1998). Galleries throughout the United States and in Canada, including the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane), have exhibited
his art.