Artist Statement: Women, the earth and the waters reflect one another. Intimately intertwined, they are viewed as sacred life-givers in many Indigenous societies. Within settler colonial societies, all three have become focal points of commodification, exploitation, extraction, and destruction. It has been especially urgent for the colonizers to bring Indigenous women and the land under white male Christian control. To accomplish this goal, our goddesses and sacred grandmothers were stolen, defiled, abused, transformed into “devils,” “witches,” and “shit-eaters.” Mainstream Eurocentric cultures continue to perpetuate false representations of Indigenous women in order to justify countless crimes against humanity and the earth across both American continents. The visual stories presented here are the stories of our Indigenous grandmothers that are not told in the colonialist narratives that actively work to erase the “Indio.” It’s time to counter the past 500 years of poisoning the water and our lives.
Artist Bio: Zamara Cuyún is, for better or worse, a product of colonization, with Indigenous roots in Guatemala – born and raised in Minneapolis. A self-taught, “Gringindia” artist of de-Indigenized Highland Maya ancestry, she works in acrylics, using elements of Maya history, ideology, and iconography to explore and create a vibrant, colorful, imaginary dream universe while also representing the restless, violent, and unsettling world we are often forced to inhabit. Her art is her resistance - a resistance against the forces of colonization pervasive in Minnesota and across the Americas.
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