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S. Kay Young (b. 1952) is a Native American Detroit based artist, advocate, instructor, with a 44- year photographic career. A descendant of the Eastern Band Cherokee Nation, her work is in numerous private and corporate collections, including The Detroit Institute of Arts, The University of Michigan and Cobo Center (The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority) in Detroit.

S. Kay Young’s work is inspired by her love of, respect for and relationship with nature. Kay has a deep, personal reverence for trees. All her photographic series are initiated through messages she receives in dreams that come through her ancestors. Young has been given these detailed dreams since early childhood. 

In 2014 Young and her Special Needs students were featured in and won an Emmy for PBS’s Detroit Performs series. In April 2019 Kay’s work was included in the curated exhibition Transformation at The Detroit Artist Market; the 106 ft X 155 ft installation was comprised of 98 self-portrait DNA images addressing identity and our DNA relationship to trees. The photographic installation reflected the quilts passed down by her mother and grandmother.

Young’s work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions throughout her career. In addition, she has lectured at The Smithsonian’s National Museum for the American Indian in New York addressing the colonization of Native people in partnership with the American Indian Community House in New York City. She has curated and judged numerous art exhibitions in Detroit and is one of the principal curators of the upcoming 2021 exhibition/event "Mighty Real, Queer Detroit" spanning six Detroit galleries, including The Detroit Institute of Arts.


QUOTE: My creative reach supports my wellness because it is the core of my being and cradles my heart.

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