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Artist Statement

I am exploring the intersections of nature, identity, and culture through forms that represent history and intersectional identity, especially connected to ancestry and immigration, in part to complicate and situate whiteness. My recent work examines our ancestors’ relationship to land through forms found in nature but referencing human relationships to nature. I appreciate these forms as metaphors for the continual construction of our identities across time, geographies, and stories.

The subject of this work "Bdote Forest Eye" is found on the ancestral and contemporary homelands of the Dakota people at Bdote, the confluence of the Mini Sota River and Wakpa Thanka (Mississippi) River, center of the Dakota creation story and site of Dakota genocide in 1862-63. One of my ancestors participated in that genocide. As a descendant, I take responsibility for truth-telling, relationship-building, and justice-doing in partnership with Dakota descendants. I see this "eye" as witness to historical tragedy and contemporary hope for the faces of our communities.

Artist Bio

I was trained as a sculptor at the College of St. Catherine under Peter Lupori and other teachers. I have facilitated murals for community groups and focus more recently on sculpture at the intersections of nature, identity, and culture. I am a professor of justice and peace studies who appreciates the way art can help us see differently and intervene creatively in pressing social problems. I also use my artwork to understand, evaluate, and make decisions about personal and social issues from grief and loss to exclusion and violence. Working with the artist collaborative #ArtIsMyWeapon has been a formative experience in re-purposing decommissioned guns to creatively address violence.

I exhibit primarily in community settings where artwork might interrupt assumptions and pose new questions, enacting inclusion through disruption. These have included the Minnesota State Fair, White Bear Center for the Arts, Hopkins Center for the Arts, the Wailoa Art Center in Hilo Hawaii, and public sculpture installations in Dubuque Iowa, or in Brooklyn Park, Saint Paul, and Delano Minnesota.

960 Payne | Saint Paul Floral

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