Robert I Mesa (Navajo/ Soboba) is writer, artist, photographer and actor working in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He studied filmmaking at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He had an exhibition at the Ningbo Museum of Art in Ningbo, China (2016), where he was an artist-in-residence. While there he completed Fort Defiance, a documentary that followed a creative exchange between Native American and Chinese traditions, viewpoints, and histories, instigating new cultural dialogue between distant peoples.
As an actor, he recently traveled to New Zealand to play the esteemed role of Tecumseh in an upcoming mini-series titled Frontiersman (2017), executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
As a self-taught photographer, he initially began to train his eye for filmmaking. His photography lead to documenting numerous acclaimed Native American artists, including Bob Haozous, with whom he shared a debut photography exhibition with. Mesa’s experience in journalism for publications like Native Peoples and The Navajo Times informed investigations into his own Navajo and Soboba heritage. Through video work, photography, and by cultivating an acting persona, he aims to raise cultural awareness regarding empowerment within identity. Musicians, wildlife, sports, and fashion all fall under Mesa’s broad lens, capturing his world through a burgeoning vision. He has participated in multiple art markets including The Autry (Los Angeles), the Heard (Phoenix), and the Santa Fe Indian Market.