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Native Artists Consider the Relationship Between Land and Identity

Kennetha Greenwood and Kimberly Rodriguez, A Very Braidy Bunch

Curated by Carolyn Lee Anderson & Emily Johnson

This is Displacement: Native Artists Consider the Relationship Between Land and Identity features the work of nearly 50 contemporary Native American artists from nineteen tribal nations across the United States. This survey offers audiences multiple views of displacement from indigenous perspectives and encourages dialogue and critical commentary on the intersections of art and identity.

This is Displacement is a group exhibition curated by visual artist Carolyn Lee Anderson (Diné) and dancemaker Emily Johnson (Yup’ik). The exhibit features the work of forty-three contemporary Native American artists from nineteen tribal nations across the United States, whose sculpture, painting, drawing, music, written work, short film, and mixed media relates to experiences of displacement – its effects, ills, joys, discomforts, and never-ending complexities.

Carolyn Lee Anderson, a visual artist/curator, graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2006 with a B.A. in Studio Art. In her art she is interested in exploring how the “developed” world contrasts to the natural world’s beautiful, less obvious, underlying order. She uses acrylic to create images that explore the Euro-American battle against the “wild” and their attraction to straight, squared edges, clean, geometric shapes, and obsessively-trimmed lawns. Carolyn has exhibited at the Bockley Gallery, the Susan Hensel Gallery, and the Gage Family Art Gallery at Augsburg College. As a curator, Carolyn is devoted to American Indian artists. From 2007-2009, she worked with All My Relations Arts helping to organize and curate exhibits. In 2009 and 2010 she interned at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where she organized exhibits of historical and ancient Native American art objects under the guidance of Associate Curator, Joseph Horse Capture.  Carolyn is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. She lives and works in Twin Cities metro area.

I have agreed to participate in, as well as curate this exhibit because displacement is an especially challenging issue in my life.  I was born and raised in Minnesota, but my maternal heritage is Diné.   I feel at home in Minnesota, but I have an intense longing to be in the Southwest and to learn about my culture and language.  It’s as if half of my heart is here in Minnesota, and the other half is in Dinétah. ~Carolyn Anderson (Artist/Curator)

Emily Johnson, project coordinator and co-curator of THIS IS DISPLACEMENT is the artistic director of Emily Johnson/Catalyst, a performance company based in Minneapolis. She has created, curated, presented, and toured site-specific and theater-specific dances and art events to sixteen states, Canada and Russia for the past twelve years. From 2005- 2008 she curated and produced the rowdy performance series Windfarm at the Rogue Buddha Art Gallery in Minneapolis. She was a writer for Mental Contagion and currently conducts the performance writing project Post-Re-View with willing audience members.  Her dance films have screened at the Walker Art Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Chicago Cultural Center and numerous university film festivals.   Emily is of Yup’ik descent and is a shareholder of the Calista Native Corporation.

As an artist, I am supported, challenged, & strengthened by the work of other artists. My dances are empathetic    responses to my environment, experiences, & questions. But, they are MY empathetic responses, & I know there is no ONE picture of displacement, no ONE story that matters most….I want to offer audiences a wide spectrum of images to contemplate.  I want more artists’ work to be seen in more places, & here I have a good chance to make that happen!  I believe that the more we support one another as artists, the more we & our art is strengthened. ~ Emily Johnson (Choreographer/Curator)


THIS IS DISPLACEMENT is a project of Emily Johnson/Catalyst and is co-sponsored by All My Relations Arts of Native American Community Development Initiative.

On View:

April 28 – June 11, 2011

Opening Reception:

Thursday, April 28
6 – 9 pm


1117 E Freeway
Houston, TX  77002