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bisakaabiiyang (returning to ourselves)

bisakaabiiyang (returning to ourselves)

October 14-December 11, 2021

All My Relations Arts
1414 Franklin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Additional Programming
Opening Reception
Thursday, Ocober 14th, 2021
6-8pm.

The Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) and All My Relations Arts is pleased to present biskaabiiyang (returning to ourselves) a group exhibition curated by 2020-2021 Emerging Curators Institute Fellow Juleana Enright. The exhibition investigates Indigenous Futurisms and the interconnectedness of nows through video installation, interactive gaming, mixed medium, digital illustrations and visual works.

Featured artists: Santo Aveiro-OjedaSequoia HauckReyna HernandezElizabeth LaPenséeCoyote Park, and Summer-Harmony Twenish.

Biskaabiiyang is an Anishinaabeg word meaning the enactment of ‘returning to ourselves’ through the regeneration of our Indigenous ways of knowing. A counter to Western constructs of sovereignty, ownership and time, the works of biskaabiiyang explore the process of decolonization through Indigenous Futurisms, ancestral knowledge, land stewardship, water protection and body and identity sovereignty. biskaabiiyang is the conceptual framework for the regeneration required to challenge the effects of colonialism in every tentacled facet of our lives, including loss of language, violence enacted against Indigenous women and Two-Spirit relatives, stolen land, any disaporic disconnection to our culture. Using the context of an imagined future, we challenge our erasure and create ourselves into being—aligning past, present and future. It is always now.

A parallel to Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism (coined by Anishinaabe professor Grace Dillon) is a reclamation of Indigenous sovereignty, a transcendence of past, present, and future, imagining a world where colonization hasn’t threatened the civilization of Indigenous people and the representation of Indigenous people hasn’t been skewed in favor of the colonial project. 

“It might go without saying that all forms of Indigenous futurisms are narratives of biskaabiiyang […]which involves discovering how personally one is affected by colonization, discarding the emotional and psychological baggage carried from its impact, and recovering ancestral traditions in order to adapt in our post-Native Apocalypse world.” – Grace DillonExploring the interconnectedness of nows, the works of biskaabiiyang reflect on the future, arrive at Native collectiveness, asking the questions: How do we employ the unapologetic practice of Indigenous Futurisms to challenge colonialism? How do we use sovereignty as a practice of world-building, queer and Native utopia-building? How do we lay the groundwork for future Indigenous discourses and collective healing while experiencing continual acts of violence and erasure to our people and our land?

About the Artists: 

Santo Aveiro-Ojeda (they/them) is an artist, speaker, and gamemaker. Their latest project, DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT, is a 2D point-and-click game funded by the Ontario Art Council’s Emerging Media Artist grant and the Toronto Arts Council Media Artist grant inspired by and based on concepts of spirituality from Guaraní teachings. They are currently working on a new game project focusing around Indigenous Cyberpunk and Indigenous Futurisms. SANTO is also a co-director at DMG, a non-for-profit arts organizations dedicated to supporting queer and gender-marginalized creators in making, playing, and changing games.

Sequoia Hauck (they/she) is a Native (Anishinaabe/Hupa) queer multidisciplinary artist based in the Twin Cities on the stolen and ancestral Dakota lands of the Wahpeton, Mdewakantonwon,Wahpekute, and Sisseton. Sequoia’s focus is on creating theater, film, poetry, and performance art that decolonizes the process of art-making. They are a graduate from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a B.A. in American Indian Studies. Sequoia have worked on and offstage with organizations such as Aniccha Arts, Art Shanty Projects, Exposed Brick Theatre, The Jungle Theater, Māoriland, An Opera Theatre (AOT), Pangea World Theater, Patrick’s Cabaret, Poetry and Pie, The Southern Theater, and Turtle Theater Collective. Sequoia recently co-directed a documentary, “Never Turn Your Back to the Wave: The Travis Jordan Story” which was in the 2021 Mpls-St. Paul International Film Festival.

Reyna Hernandez (she/her) utilizes mixed media across disciplines to investigate the concept of identity hybridity in relation to her Indigenous bloodlines and westernized arts education. Reyna attempts to investigate her place in the world while examining the complex connections between western discourse, epistemic violence in academia, and her own sense of Dakota identity. Reynahernandezart.com

Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an award-winning designer, writer, and artist of games, emergent media, and comics. She is Anishinaabe with family from Bay Mills, Métis, and Irish. She is an Assistant Professor in Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures and Director of the Serious Games Graduate Certificate at Michigan State University. Thunderbird Strike with design and art by Elizabeth LaPensée, programming by Adrian Cheater, and music and sound effects by Casey Koyczan.

Coyote Park (he/they) is a 2Spirit, mixed race (Korean, White, Native American) artist from Honolulu, Hawai’i that currently lives in Tongva Territory/Los Angeles. They are a photographer and storyteller who is Indigenous to California. Park focuses their work on their trans family, as they want to make images of people that they love and have shared lived experiences with. Park’s work celebrates the every day by documenting their home space and environments in building queer utopia. Park merges their written work with their passion for image making and has been working on a photo book entitled “All Kin is Blood Kin” surrounding themes of family, rebirth, bodies, sexuality, and love. Park’s practice is community and collaboration oriented, as they make photographs with their romantic partners and friendships. They are continuing to make photos in New York, California, and Hawai’i with other QTPOC and of queer/trans couples, evolving their work through time and new experiences.

Summer-Harmony Twenish (they/them) is a queer Algonquin person from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. They are a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist (currently) working primarily in digital illustration, painting, and rug-making. Inspired by a blend of their own Algonquin worldviews and the experiences that come with growing up as a fat, queer rez grrrl in kkkanada, their work is both fiercely anti-colonial and unapologetically vulnerable.

Courtesy of Santo Aveiro-Ojeda
biskaabiiyang (returning to ourselves) Catalogue
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