I began my career as a poet many years ago. Most of my published text-based works are poetry collections. Although poetry is my most natural form of communication, only some people will ever pick up a poetry book or attend a so-called traditional reading. I began incorporating other mediums into my practice, such as 2-D work, installations, performance, and interactive technology (VR), because I believe it is my responsibility to engage with audiences on myriad levels. Art and artists do not exist in a silo, and yet the inherent design of many mainstream platforms is quite niche and exclusive (think “traditional” gallery openings or poetry readings).
My goal as a person and an artist is to inform, create conversations, and in many cases to educate—particularly non-Indigenous audiences. The key word here is goal, not responsibility. The emotional, mental, spiritual, and oftentimes physical labor of educating non-Indigenous audiences is not for everyone. It is a gift some of us offer when, where, and how we can. It is not a requirement of any Native person.
Art demands quiet. Listening. It’s why we are naturally shushing ourselves and each other in cinemas and museums. Through art we have a window to connect, and it is in those slices of time that I have found my purpose most powerful.
I have been fortunate to have had my work exhibited, both in solo and group shows, around the globe. Click on the titles below for some photos of my art/exhibitions, and in some cases processes, from my personal archives.
Materials: Styrofoam faux fruits, handmade soy waxes, acrylic, vintage measuring tape, and a hidden poem written below the wax
On exhibit as part of the Jordan Schnitzer Black Lives Matter Grant at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (Portland, Oregon) January – April 2022.
Themes: Eating disorders, original “sin”
Materials: Gleaned rebar and construction materials from Metro (the Portland “dump”), acrylic, and poem typed on onion skin paper (both paper and typewriter also gleaned)
On exhibit as part of the GLEAN: Portland show at the Maddox Building (Portland, Oregon) January – March 2022. One pieces was also on display at the GLEAN 10-year retrospective.
Themes: Strong FoundNations draws attention to the history of the “Indian” residential boarding “school” realities, of which my father and his siblings survived (at least physically)
Red C[h]airn Project
Materials: Salvaged student desks, spray paint, acrylic paint, language written on desks taken from “curriculum” from the “Indian” residential boarding “schools” circa 1900
On exhibit during my residency as the 2021 autumn Native American visual artist-in-residence at Ucross in Wyoming. This installation was also selected as one of four to open the renovated Ucross gallery in early 2023.
Themes: This is a complement to Strong FoundNations (see above)
Materials: My experimental form of poetry, antipodes, overlaid on family archival photos. Printed on vinyl while in Mumbai, India. A virtual gallery of my solo exhibition at Open Signal New Media in Portland (2020) is also available.
Year: 2019, 2020
On exhibit at various locations including a storefront at the Meydenbauer in Seattle, Washington (2021-2022); The Emergency Gallery in Switzerland (2019); the International Print Center in Manhattan (2019); IA&A Hillyer in Washington D.C. (2019); Boliver Art Gallery in Kentucky (2020); Winter Lights Festival in Portland (2020); International Human Rights Festival (2020); Carnation Contemporary in Portland (2020); and Fertile Ground in Portland (2021)
Themes: Photos were matched with poems based on subjects/themes in the poem which include Indigenization, de-colonization, intergenerational trauma and healing, and self-identity
Poetry in virtual reality:
Materials: Proprietary virtual reality software. This was a joint project with co-founder of Equal Reality, Brennan Hatton.
On exhibit around the globe at spaces like By the People Festival in Washington D.C. (2019), Devil’s Den in Portland (2019), and Open Signal new Media in Portland (2020).
Themes: Experimental poetry, self-identity, de-colonization, Indigenization
Materials: photos from performance poetry art, in which a poem is painted on a model who inhabits a body typically under-represented and/or hypersexualized in today’s world
Year: 2019, 2020
On exhibit at the Boliver Gallery at the University of Kentucky (2020) and the traveling “Cherokee Syllabary: a Living Language” show in North Carolina
Themes: Identity, body image, tokenism