Thanksgiving is next week, and while I’m looking forward to time with family around the table, I know the history of this holiday is not joyous and celebratory for all people. I’ve spent the last few years learning more about the history of indigenous people in this country (and our area of New York), and it’s been a humbling and important reminder to always learn more about the traditions I participate in and what they represent to people who don’t necessarily share the same identity, background or history. In addition to learning about the full history of this holiday, I’ve been spending more and more time listening to and researching indigenous artists, makers and creatives and how to better support them. So much of the design we see in the world today is informed by indigenous art, craft and cultural tradition and I wanted to share some of my favorite contemporary artists here today. I’m working on a larger series about indigenous artists in North America, but in the meantime these artists are creating incredible work that bridges ancient and modern techniques. I hope you’ll enjoy their work as much as I have. And if you have indigenous artists you’d like to share with us here, please feel free to share their names and links in the comment section below. Until Monday, here’s hoping everyone has a safe and happy weekend. –Grace
The work of Frank Buffalo Hyde combines traditional and contemporary imagery through the lens of Hyde’s Onondaga/Nez Perce background.
J. Okuma’s beadwork is informed by Indigenous traditions (she is of Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock heritage), but uses decidedly modern accessories (like shoes, bags and jackets) to create a contemporary spin.
Photographer Will Wilson photographs indigenous communities (often using tintypes) for his Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) project.
Ben Pease’s work ranges from photography and collage work to sculpture. His pieces (above) that combine antique photography with handwriting are so powerful.
This web series The School of Life has been keeping me afloat lately. It helps walk through a lot of tough situations and explains how to talk and listen with compassion, vulnerability and an open heart. This has been a helpful tool for me in learning how to discuss Thanksgiving with my family and ways we can be more aware of the full history of our traditions and how they affect and reflect others.
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