meredith habermann is engaging with a very human experience, a slumber party. she is collecting objects from that moment of innocence and putting it in a gallery. i engage with objects similarly, right now my vessel is a country crock container. right now, my objects are gloves. i am telling a darker story, a story of murder, of lost souls and families ripped apart. but i am still telling the same story of childhood wonder, while most children had sleepovers, i was sat with my grandmother in the summers hearing stories from her youth. the stories of how my great grandfather murdered his wife, of how her friends went missing, of how to curse in my native tongue and ask my father if he wanted a beer. Eventually, i spent my summer watching my grandmother die from lack of proper health care, something that is not uncommon for native women. but i am telling the same story as this slumber party, i am speaking of my youth even though when i return to it now, i realize that it was not as pleasant as i remember it to be.
Beadwork is becoming more and more important to me. alice new holy blue legs engages with this medium in a very traditional way. there is an elegance to each stitch, each thread carries the weight of generations. i want to push that further, how can i make beading contemporary? How can I force it to the front of the art world? For now, I have found that the answer is through acts of federal defiance. by beading onto money, rectifying what a dollar bill could look like, and bringing in cryptocurrency that engages with sovereign land. at my core, i am doing what alice does, i am simply pushing those boundaries a bit further, a bit harder, i'm weaving more history into my thread. i am connecting the threads of intergeneration trauma to tell a new story and bring a new day.
shay saheli is engaging with water to conduct electricity. this struck a chord with me because of what water means to my people. water is life, Mni wiconi, it's a phrase that was shouted for months in resistance to the dakota access pipeline. those protests were my awakening, my spark, my electricity. it was the moment that i realized i could claim my skin as my own. it was the moment i realized i could hold native values and loudly announce that fact to the world. water was electric in that moment because it brought me home, to where i belonged, and it gave me a purpose to start seeking out. it took me four years to reach the point in my work where i wasn't afraid of what i said, but afraid of what i didn't say, but i am here now. I try to be the light, the electricity, and the water, so that i may honor those who fought before me.
tatum brandenburg works with objects in an unusual way, jello is his vessel, and you definitely can not eat the jello because everything inside is inedible. my country crock performance work calls to that, my vessel is that which leftovers would be put in. my objects are the gloves soaked in blood. my jello is the way that the blood congeals together as decomposition occurs. my work isn't transparent, but it is in your face much like inedible objects in jello.
laela white is working with iconic imagery, especially in a modern day sense. flaming hot cheetos are becoming a corner stone of culture, birthday cake is a reminder of childhood, and the sardines are identical to capitalism. i'm working iconic imagery too, though it may not always be overt. a red hand print is going to be recognizable to anyone a part of the missing and murdered indigenous women's movement because it's the main symbol. a country crock container is going to bring out nostalgia because it's something that those of us who grew up with a native grandmother remember fondly. my pop culture is different because it comes from my people, people who think snotty nose rez kids are popping (Which they are). i want to turn that culture into mainstream pop culture.