Deconstructing ideological notions behind resistant camps, homeless encampments and land.
Tent Metaphor, Standing Rock series started in 2017 for me as a direct result of my travels and experience to Standing Rock during the NoDAPL movement.
My main medium resides in painting as an artist- I gravitate to creating new terrains for the viewers to become apart of- past work often declared vibrancies to abstracted forms, moving and flowing with fluidity and spontaneity.
Following my experience at Standing Rock I wanted to create a body of work that disassociated itself from past works in that it would be heavy with figurative approaches and use of social dialogue correlating to indigenous resistance. This departure work would illuminate modern struggles that have been an extension of an ongoing time-line but fall within the perimeters of social discourse. I made a few body of works on Standing Rock that I felt achieved my goal and inspirations to helping push forth the problems and actions that took place in North Dakota during the movement. One in particular was the called “Tent Metaphor” this body of work found it’s birth while living in Seattle in 2016- after seeing the amount of tents that dotted Seattle’s downtown area and outer area- The Tents stuck out to me as a beacon of hope, distress and resistance, not only through land occupation but also by the bright colored patterns that make up the structures. As a visual artist with a background in Landscape painting and abstracted forms I felt there was something here to look into. At this time I was also using more dialogue in my work which has always found it’s way into the abstractions- giving glimpses of symbolism and structure into the work.
The Homeless encampments in Seattle would direct me to looking at the current state and problems within, asking questions of why this is and what processes were happening to better these situations and areas. An ongoing look into an ever evolving situation had been uncorked by my artistic eye. I’ve come to realize that this body of work “Tent Metaphor” is an ongoing look into a bigger problem that faces The U.S.
On top of FaceBook hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin Camp I saw many things, love, solidarity, resistance, history and tents.. many tents and tipi’s. there’s a bigger picture here that I’m investigating with this series, how the treatment of indigenous people over years of detrimental conduct have shifted varying degrees of livelihoods, land displacement and forced removals provoke the same ethics in todays treatment of Homeless encampments- the colonial notions of land and ownership, belonging and taking and so forth have led to a disparity that is wove into the fabrics of America. Today we see our rights to live in solidarity threatened on many fronts and formats, to resist and standup for what’s right is an obstruction of justice to an obstructed law built with genocide and greed, is there a way to succeed? to proceed?
“Tent Metaphor, Standing Rock” uses the actual tent’s that were abandoned in the wake of the blizzards, the tent’s that were left after the final days of Oceti Sakowins existence and the Raid on 2/22/2017. With this material I wanted to invoke the spirit and power that resided as a heartbeat of a nation during the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The smoke still permeates the tents, loose grass from the camp still imbeds it’s self within- these tents have stories, sheltered dreams and held our prayers for a clean and safe environment for generations to come and experience. By deconstructing each tent I’ve obtained, I’ve sewn them back together with many different tent sections from one another - not one is alike and each carry a different messages and different story and background- I’ve added designs and shapes from one another, transforming something universal to personal but also letting each one play with each other on a visual dialogue. This is the dialogue I want to continue to explore as well as for the viewer to take away with. How can we deconstruct current notions of homeless encampments and resistance camps? how can we explore better way’s to listen and accommodate solutions to gaining precedence over these problems. finally, how can we construct these pieces back to accolade the past misgivings?