As Indigenous womxn, we have occupied essential leadership roles in our communities for centuries. While the forces of colonization have sought to dismantle our cultures and life ways, we have fought to maintain and preserve them – not only surviving, but asserting our Indigenous identities at every turn throughout history. Today, our womxn are leading and shaping movements to protect both natural resources and Indigenous bodies. Leading this critical work to heal, recover, and shape brighter, healthier futures, Indigenous womxn are occupying roles as activists, scholars, educators, doctors, attorneys, writers, artists, scientists, and social workers. They are not only re-defining western institutional spaces and professions to fit the unique needs of their communities, but they are acting as visionaries for all of humanity – applying ancestral knowledge and values to develop innovative solutions to our most pressing contemporary issues.
The artists represented in this exhibition are both documenting and participating in these essential movements. From taking an active role on the frontlines at Standing Rock (#protectthesacred), to amplifying the dire realities of the Missing Murdered Indigenous Womxn and Girls across the US and Canada (#mmiw/#mmiwg) these artists are engaged in utilizing their voice to further awareness and activate change. The art works celebrate stories of their ancestors, and asserts their own places within powerful contemporary movements. Some of these movements include healing intergenerational trauma caused by horrific events like the Indian Boarding School period, combating an epidemic of violence against Native womxn (#stopviolenceagainstnativewomen), and fighting against the extractive industries causing irreparable harm to sensitive ecosystems.
MATRIARCHS is curated by two Indigenous curators — Kristen Dorsey (Chickasaw Nation) and Jaclyn Roessel (Diné)– and will feature multiple works by 12 contemporary womxn Indigenous artists representing 14 Indigenous communities. Four artists represent communities Indigenous to California. Featured in the experience are an array of mediums including fashion, metalwork, photography, painting, basketry, and video.
A special preview of MATRIARCHS will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 5pm to 8pm with an introduction by Curators Kristen Dorsey and Jaclyn Roessel scheduled at 6pm.
MATRIARCHS will open for public view on October 18 at 1pm and run through January 26, 2019.
Image Credit: Cara Romero | Naomi, picturing skirt & necklace by Leah Mata Fragua | Archival pigment photograph | 2018