Mikaela Shafer

Hopi, Coyote Clan

GRANTEE: Mikaela Shafer
NATIVE HERITAGE: Hopi, Coyote Clan
LOCATION: Olympia, Washington
AWARD: 2023 LIFT– Early Career Support for Native Artists 

Born in Berlin, Germany and now residing in the Pacific Northwest, Mikaela Shafer is an Indigenous mother, activist, and artist. She draws inspiration from her Hopi culture and personal healing journey in her creative endeavors. A self-trained artist, Shafer has been creating since her youth — sculptures, poetry, paintings, and costumes. Today, that creativity has grown into a professional practice in which she creates expressionistic, abstract paintings that explore familial relationships, cultural identity, grief, loss, reconnection, and healing.

Through a unique blend of poetry, storytelling, and mixed media paintings, Shafer captures the narrative of cultural disconnection, reconnection, and the process of generational healing. Her artistic expression involves intentional and intuitive techniques such as dyeing, sewing, and layering. Her artwork has found recognition worldwide, with exhibitions in galleries across London, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington, as well as being featured in numerous online galleries and print publications.

This project is a practice of unlocking memories and facing them head-on— Processing, grieving, and healing. Each painting unearths a new memory; each poem helps to release it.”

– Mikaela Shafer (Hopi, Coyote Clan)


Mikaela Shafer’s LIFT Project, Down Road 264, will be an art installation and immersive experience. The installation will feature mixed-media paintings, poetry, desert plants, materials gathered on the Hopi reservation, pieces that represent the artist’s mother’s home, burning juniper and pinion pine, and Hopi foods for participants. Drawing inspiration from her Hopi culture, where women are revered as the pillars of families and the storytellers that preserve the legacy of generations, Shafer will embark on an introspective artistic journey. Through her collection, she hopes to unveil the importance of unlocking memories and preserving her own story.

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