Over the course of the last several weeks, I have been working on a mixed-media piece to be exhibited in a group show with over 200 Indigenous artists in Seattle. This show is the culmination of a year-long series of workshops, readings, shows, residencies, and events that aimed to highlight the diversity and strength of the many artists, makers, writers, and artisans in the Northwest. The theme of yəhaw̓, is the word itself, a word used to lift the sky when Creator has left it too low. In other words, this show focuses on community strength, and building resilience in ourselves and each other in hopes of a more positive walk forward.
The piece I am contributing grew out of my experiences in the Southwest in October of last year, when I backpacked through the ancestral homelands of Pueblo, Zuni, Hopi, Dine, and many other groups. I learned of the many environmental issues these contemporary Indigenous communities face, primarily those related to fossil fuel extraction and uranium mining interests. I learned how these destructive forces impact Native bodies, bodies of water, bodies of land, and couldn’t help but see the similarities between Indigenous groups elsewhere and the threats they face.
After seeing these impacts firsthand, and considering how capitalist and extractive interests affect my own Native Hawaiian communities, I began to really understand just how much is at stake for Indigenous ancestral homelands. This painting begins to address these issues, posing questions of what will ultimately happen in these landscapes, and how will Native communities survive and see continued resilience while their homelands and waters are at risk.
The group show opens March 23rd at King Street Station in Seattle, and more information regarding events on the opening day can be found here. Until then… here is a sneak peak of the mixed-media work on paper in the meantime :)