A New Visual Art Exhibition Curated by Electric Machete Studios
Featuring work by Gordon Coons, Ojibwa, Lac Courte Oreilles
& Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra, Xinka-Lenca, El Salvador
Image by Gordon Coons
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Dimensions of Indigenous & Cultural Identity Politics is the latest installation of the semi-annual all nations art exhibition series Dimensions of Indigenous that began in 2005. This year’s exhibition, curated by Electric Machete Studios, takes on some deep and intriguing questions:
How do we unite Indigenous people of the four directions … ?
Who can claim to be Indigenous … ?
How does the current tension around immigration impact this conversation … ?
In a stripped-down version of the exhibition, curators Gordon Coons (Ojibwa, Lac Courte Oreilles) and Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra (Xinka-Lenca, El Salvador) explore dimensions of Indigeneity through an intimate view of their practice. In conversation with one another, their installation work explores Indigenous cultural identity politics through the modern expression of color and paper cuttings.
“The impacts of colonization can still be felt today in our communities, manifesting in different but similarly meaningful ways for Indigenous Peoples living in the Midwest,” says Dimensions of Indigenous co-curator Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra. “The tension, distrust, and trauma from generations of relocation, cultural appropriation, assimilation and genocide make unity difficult for those who have survived.”
“Further,” co-curator Gordon Coons adds, “Divide and conquer tactics such as tribal enrollment, blood quantum, and erasure add to the tensions that have built up onto the invisible barriers of colonial thinking that keep our communities divided.”
Opening November 28 and remaining on view through February 4, Dimensions of Indigenous & Cultural Identity Politics offers multiple touch-points for community members to enter into conversation.
An opening reception on November 28 offers an opportunity to connect with the artists in the gallery and hear about their work, in collaboration with the #sayhernameperformance by Shá Cage which opens that same evening.
A Talking Circle, Dimensions of Indigeneity in Minnesota on January 29 will be preceded with an opportunity for community members to hop aboard the Storytelling Bus, sponsored by The Ordway, which will take riders on a physical and aural tour of important places to the Indigenous community throughout the Twin Cities before arriving at Intermedia Arts for a potluck feast and talking circle.
Moderated by Jessica Lopez Lyman, PhD and Ashley Fairbanks, White Earth Nation, Dimensions of Indigeneity in Minnesota will feature a diverse panel of artists, educators, and cultural community organizers. In a poignant conversation, we will get honest about dimensions of Indigeneity and cultural identity politics as it relates to our shared liberation. This talking circle is co-presented with the Department of Chicano & Latino studies at the University of Minnesota.
November 28, 2016 – February 4, 2017
November 28, 2016 | Monday | 6PM
TALKING CIRCLE: DIMENSIONS OF INDIGENEITY IN MINNESOTA
Gordon Coons’ heritage is Ojibwa from Lake Superior Chippewa Band of Wisconsin (from his father) and Ottawa from Michigan (from his mother). He is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe of northern Wisconsin. Originally from Wisconsin, Gordon is now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gordon is a self-taught artist, creating works in a variety of mediums including linoleum block prints, paintings, pen and ink, carvings in stone and wood. Although his artwork is more contemporary, each piece portrays a unique view of traditional native stories, incorporating strong family influences into the image. Gordon is an accomplished artist and has won numerous recognition awards, has work in permanent collections and in galleries throughout the country.
Ashley Fairbanks is an Anishinaabe woman and citizen of the White Earth Nation. She operates as a socially-conscious designer and public artist. She works with a cohort of artists that do racial justice popular education and organizing. She seeks to use her design skills to activate people around issues ranging from police brutality to environmental justice. She has worked with the Energy Action Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network and Honor the Earth to create campaigns around the KXL and Sandpiper pipelines and protecting our water from mining.
Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra (Xinka Lenca, El Salvador) is an interdisciplinary post-modern folk artist, curator, teaching artist, and arts organizer working in the intersection of art, culture, community, and equity. As a practicing artist, her visual art, music, and performance is the contemporary expression of traditional artesanías of Mesoamerica. Her work lives in the Nepantla or in-between of Christianity and Indigeneity exploring themes of iconography, Liberation Theology, and Decolonization. Rebekah co-founded Electric Machete Studios, a Twin Cities LatinX/Indigenous art and music cooperative and gallery, where she serves as Artistic director. She writes and performs music as Lady Xok. She also works with Intermedia Arts as curator of the exhibition series Dimensions of Indigenous, uniting people of the 4 directions, and with Creative CityMaking Minneapolis on an innovative team using art to address systemic inequity.
About Dimensions of Indigenous
The semi-annual all nations art exhibition series, Dimensions of Indigenous, originated with Los Nativos, a local Rhymesayers Chicano hip hop group, in 2003. Los Nativos, who hosts the Anti-Columbus Day concert, featured Indigenous artists of the North and South as a way for Chicano artists to carve out a space for the counter-narrative as Indigenous identified Chicano artists and for nation-bridging as a Native arts community in the Twin Cities. Innovative for it’s time, the art portion soon outgrew the small concert venue in the 7th Street Entry and Dimensions of Indigenous, the art exhibition series was birthed in 2005. With a mission of uniting Indigenous artists of the 4 directions around common themes of Decolonization, Identity, Resistance, & Survival, Dimensions of the Indigenous has featured artists from over 25 first nations and planted the seeds for cross-continental understanding as Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Today, as more and more work continues to emerge around this theme, Dimensions of Indigenous evolves into deeper and more specific themes around Cultural Identity Politics and the invisible barriers of colonial thinking that keep our communities divided.
About the Catalyst Series
Intermedia Arts’ Catalyst Series is a platform for transformative, socially engaged new work. Through performing, media and visual arts, the Catalyst Series sparks lasting dialogue in provocative and visionary ways, showcasing work by artists whose voices are in motion. The series offers a pathway for traditionally underrepresented emerging artists and projects that ignite innovation.
Electric Machete Studios (EMS) is a Twin Cities collective of artists, musicians, dancers, stylists, producers, film makers, fashion designers, curators, teachers, and community organizers working alongside and with one another in the contemporary creative narrative of the Xican@/Latinx/Indigenous identity and artistic style.
Electric Machete Studios (EMS) is a Twin Cities art and music collective featuring contemporary and experimental work rooted in traditional Latinx and Indigenous art methods. In September 2015, Electric Machete Studios opened a flexible white box gallery in St. Paul. They believe that educating others on traditional art forms is critical for the survival of Xican@/Latinx/Indigenous histories and cultures. Intergenerational workshops, community art happenings (improvised performance events), and art exhibits serve as the foundation for highlighting social justice issues within our communities. Their work seeks to intervene in cultural displacement and racial inequities by offering alternative spaces, counter narratives, and community building opportunities for Xican@/Latinx/Indigenous people in the Twin Cities in solidarity with Indigenous people throughout the Americas.
Ce Tempoxcalli’s mission is to build healthy communities by revitalizing Indigenous cultural knowledge. It is with a Mexica (Aztec) heart that Ce Tempoxcalli serves Indigenous peoples of the four directions through the program areas of Arts and Culture, Environmental Justice, Health and Wellness, and Community and Youth Development.
As Minnesota’s premier multidisciplinary, multicultural arts organization, Intermedia Arts builds understanding among people by catalyzing and inspiring artists to make changes in their lives and communities. We provide creative people of all ages with the opportunities, tools, and support to come together across disciplines, sectors, and boundaries to connect, create, share, collaborate, innovate, think big, and act as catalysts for positive community-driven and community-defined change. We are a nationally recognized leader in empowering artists and community leaders to use arts-based approaches to solve community issues. By stimulating deeper community engagement and providing a platform for the stories and experiences of underrepresented communities locally, nationally, and internationally, we contribute to a stronger, healthier society.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Intermedia Arts // 2822 Lyndale Ave South // Minneapolis, MN 55408