Photo: Amelia Berumen

Photo: Amelia Berumen

 

Surrounded by my artwork I think of my studio as a ceremony, a space or vessel which ideas, medicine, and creation take place. Shaped by American Indian policies throughout my life, I use my visual language to transmit Native voices, identities, and stories that may have been stripped throughout American history. To represent the forgotten past of American Indian people and fill the gaps where information might be lost. To question Native American depictions and portrayal post contact. My work materializes in an interdisciplinary arts practice ranging from installation, prints, and sculpture. I gather my knowledge from both my Northern Ute and Anishinaabe heritage to charge the content of my work. Not forgetting those sacred ceremonies before me, but to grow as an artist with them without totally assimilating to western society, but truly existing in two worlds.

Recently my project has involved the reinsertion of the American Indian image onto collaged and deconstructed book covers of American history. I tear and collage assorted Colonial books to create my surface before screen-printing on them. My source imagery derives from two archival albums from my Grandparents, representing my Ute Indian heritage and our band of Uncompahgre from Colorado. My use of archival photography and printmaking allows me to create a layer between the past and present to form new narratives that question Native identity through the fusion of Image and text. In addition, I paint an extra layer on the surface of the wall with graphic murals of Euro-centric depictions of Eastern Coastal Native people around first contact. Placing the book pieces onto and over the mural paintings activates the installation to further question the dichotomy of the real and the fantastic savage.