As a figurative artist my work is an intersection of autobiography and community. I depict my culture and the relationship between perception and experience through scenes and portraits of people from my home reservation in New York.
I feel I am always searching to make my work more honest and heartfelt, something that I hope allows the viewer to really tune in to the intimacy, vibrancy, and resilience of the people I portray. I paint portraits of the people I know in their everyday life, such as my family, friends, and community members because the representation of who they are is important to me. I want their lives and likeness to be seen. Sometimes that representation includes specific, identifiable things from our culture and sometimes it doesn’t because everyone defines their culture on their own terms. The work asks the viewer to search further for the paintings meaning to wonder “why this image”, “why this person or these people” - not to prove authenticity but to disprove what others think is “authentic.”
Representation of Native peoples from a Native perspective is important to me. The paintings are from my gaze and the surface becomes a window into the everyday life, domestic setting, and familiar surroundings of the participating figures. The works are visual narratives of the people’s histories capturing what it means to be Indian today.
This series focuses on weaving together personal narratives and family relationships as a way explore and represent larger themes that affect Native communities. In making this work I have been navigating through ways to reconcile past events I have experienced and learn how creativity can be a guide toward healing.