On Friday, May 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) is excited to host a reception for its latest art exhibition, titled “Long Night of the Floating Shell”. The exhibit will explore an overlap in themes between two artists’ experiences as contemporary Indigenous artists navigating their connection to their ancestry and communities - Cuyún with roots in the Maya Highlands of Guatemala and Thunder from the Red Lake Nation in Greater Minnesota. This exhibit is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served - the artists will also be present to engage with audience questions. The exhibit will be on view throughout the month of June, ending with a more personal artist Q&A on a date yet to be determined.
Opening Reception Friday, September 13, 2019, 6-8 pm
More details to come... but in the meantime…
Reclaiming Our Grandmothers
My artform is a vehicle for visually telling stories outside of the mainstream Minnesota narrative.
For over 500 years, most accounts of Maya history and cosmology have been produced by non-Indigenous sources. Indigenous Maya voices - especially female voices - are absent from these narratives
When Indigenous women - human and sacred alike - do make an appearance in Western-produced literature, their original roles within their cultures have been perverted. Across what is now known as, “the Americas,” Indigenous women have been gazed upon and interpreted through the European colonizers’ lenses of patriarchy and Christianity. It has been especially urgent for the colonizers to bring Indigenous women - undisciplined and troublingly liberated - under white Christian male control.
To accomplish this goal, our goddesses and sacred grandmothers were stolen, defiled, abused, transformed into “devils,” “witches,” and “shit-eaters.” False interpretations have contributed to cycles of historical trauma which persist today - not only in the way that Indigenous women are perceived by outsiders, but also as justification for countless crimes against humanity across both American continents.
In contemporary society, Indigenous women - brown and female - are objectified, romanticized, hyper-sexualized, and de-humanized. We are preconditioned by the mainstream Euro-centric cultures into which we are born and raised to de-value ourselves and to be devalued by others - reduced to the “Indian Princess” or the “Ixta Fea” (ugly, dirty Indian girl). Seemingly harmless stereotypes produce devastating consequences when we consider the alarming rates of abuse, rape, disappearance, murder, self-harm and suicide plaguing Indigenous women and girls.
However, when we all strive to decolonize ourselves, our communities, and mainstream society, we can develop a new understanding of being female - past and present - re-imagine the mythical and re-humanize the ancestors and the living. We can, perhaps, reclaim our sacred grandmothers, ourselves, and future generations.
The visual stories that will be presented in this exhibition are the stories of our Indigenous grandmothers that are not often told in the colonialist narratives that actively work to erase the Indio from their histories. Growing up in Mni Šota settler society, I’ve become all too familiar with the words of Captain Richard H. Pratt, “Kill the Indian...save the man” - or woman, in this case - and their tragic consequences. Perhaps, upon viewing this exhibition, other Minnesotans will recognize this shared history and the subsequent local legacy of which we are all beneficiaries on Dakhόta homeland. It’s time to present positive images and stories of Indigenous women to counter the past 500 years of “poisoning the water” and our lives.
Art Exhibition and Award Ceremony
Exhibit features, "artists who are women of color and will take place alongside," the AICHO first annual Phenomenal Woman Awards ceremony, "honoring 10 women leaders in our community [Duluth, MN]. The Artwork displayed in this exhibit reflects representations of womanhood as related to the artists' respective cultures, equity in feminism within communities of color, and imagery inspired by women artists of color."
AICHO Phenomenal Woman Awards recipients: Karen Diver, Marlene Diver, Victoria Ybanez, Mary Ann Walt, Laurel Sanders, Wendy Savage, Karen Savage, Tawny Smith-Savage, Sarah Curtiss, and Jara McLarren. "These women are being recognized for their consistent support of and involvement at AICHO, as well as their efforts to address various barriers in the community."
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/aichogalleries/
The In-between: They're Speaking, but Are We Listening?
"The Made Here Showcases temporarily fill empty storefronts and commercial spaces that are in transition with art by local artists, turning the downtown Minneapolis cultural district into a walkable urban art gallery.
Spirit: Made Here will feature approximately 50 artists working in a wide variety of mediums."
Presented by Ce Tempoxcalli, Electric Machete Studios, and
Curated by Gordon Coons, Ojibwa, Lac Courte Oreilles
& Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra, Xinka-Lenca, El Salvador
"'Storytelling' is a multi-disciplinary all nations art exhibition featuring both contemporary and traditional work of Indigenous artists of the Americas whose work evokes decolonization, resistance, and cultural identity.
There are many parallels in the stories embedded and embodied in Indigenous art. From creation to flood to resistance for future generations, 'Storytelling' seeks to explore these parallels in order to understand how we are related as Indigenous nations."
- excerpt from Intermedia Arts
for more information, please, visit http://www.intermediaarts.org/Dimensions-of-Indigenous-Storytelling