As Indigenous women, 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 women are leading and shaping movements to protect natural resources as well as Indigenous bodies. Leading critical work to heal, recover, and shape brighter, healthier futures, indigenous women 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 a visionary’s for all of humanity – applying ancestral knowledge and values to develop innovative solutions to the most pressing contemporary issues.
The artists represented in this Experience are both documenting and participating in these essential movements. Their work celebrates the stories of their ancestors, and asserts their own places within powerful contemporary movements. Some of these movements include healing intergenerational trauma in their communities, combating an epidemic of violence against Native women, and fighting against the extractive industries causing irreparable harm to sensitive watersheds across this continent. By asserting Indigenous perspectives into the collective discourse, these diverse art works are raising awareness around critical humanitarian issues. Each of the selected artists is actively looking towards the future, and fighting for a safer, healthier world for our children.
MATRIARCHS will be curated by two female Native American curators: Kristen Dorsey and Jaclyn Roessel. It will feature multiple works from 8 – 10 female Indigenous artists. The work will include diverse mediums such as fashion, metalwork, photography, painting, basketry, and video. The selected artists will each be members of diverse tribal communities, creating work connecting to the above themes, while occupying leadership roles within their communities and beyond. The exhibition will run from October 13th through January 26th. During the duration of the exhibit, a series of public programing will highlight the voices of the participating artists and the local Los Angeles Indigenous community. This event series will be aimed at educating the public about the themes represented in the exhibit, and highlighting the work, careers, and causes of the participating artists.
Image Credit: Creation at Dawn by Nanibah Chacon.