Uriah De La O, 13, is an enrolled Spokane Tribal member and descendant of the Makah Tribe. He attends Shaw Middle School and loves to spend time sketching, hanging out with his paralyzed Frenchie Hoola, and playing video games. His art is inspired by nature, fictional characters and monsters, and his family.
He helped illustrate this 2-minute digital story (Cocoon Woman). It’s a traditional indigenous story used to process and discuss grief.
Olivia Evans is a grant-awarded, multidisciplinary visual artist based in Spokane, WA, working in video, photography, drawing, and film. In 2018, she graduated from Eastern Washington University with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art and a minor in film. Her work is heavily influenced by motherhood, the subconscious, nature, and social events — intertwining traditional and digital media to create narratives of the self. All these influences echo her eclectic cultural experiences of growing up in an economically challenged home with her Italian mother and in 2007 (once parents remarried), being reunited with her African American/Native American father.
Olivia is working with The Alliance for Media, Arts, & Culture as a local producer and social media manager. She co-produced the documentary film series Monday Movies at the Magic Lantern Theater, Native Arts & Film Events, and co-curates numerous events in the Pacific Northwest region. She actively participates in the Alliance National Youth Media Network activities and within her art community in Spokane. Her work has been featured in several student exhibitions, Saturate, a city-wide arts event in Spokane, at the Kress Gallery, Terrain 12 (2019), a large exhibition that features over 200+ artists in the PNW.
As a mother, I have come to terms with having two living bodies develop inside me, feed off my nutrients, and be cut out of my stomach. What was once the essence of myself was now in physical form, staring at me and looking at me for answers, while I was still collecting what remained. It can be easy for people to hide behind their physical form.
In my work, I investigate our relationship with our subconscious, as well as the significance of movement relative to these fragmented states of mind. Within cultural elements, personal experiences, and recognition of gestural transitions are attached. For instance, the gestural use of walking that offers a meditative bind between the walker’s mind and body. Walking is a recurring theme in most indigenous cultures.
In my video work, I use frame by frame stop motion animations and drawing to create narratives based on personal situations and contemplations. Using inanimate objects, drawings, photographs, and silhouettes to help aid these ideas gives me freedom to choose a route that fits within the situation. In film, I comment on cultural and social meaning, and the sometimes clash of the two. In my still photography projects, I elaborate more on the misconception of memories, our reliance on subconscious thought, and the relevance of the people who we hold dear in our lives.
Our upbringing and cultural background are a huge factor in this. When entering the subconscious, one runs into their innermost desires and memories that convey an intense feeling of nostalgia. We attach these events constantly to our lives to assure ourselves that change is or is not happening – a comfort food to fuel our future endeavors. It’s natural to want to turn back time and relive certain snippets of the past. Is it possible to fully regain that sense of clarity, or is the inevitability of change going to constantly keep us on our toes?
From: SPOTLIGHT: NATIVE ART CONTEST WINNER JACOB MAURICE JOHNS by Helen Oliff May 24, 2019 NativeKnot.com
Jacob Maurice Johns: Hometown: Mesa, Arizona Tribal Affiliation: Akimel O’otham (Gila River Pima) and Hopi
Jacob attended cosmetology school in Washington state and then worked as a hairdresser and rave promoter/DJ before discovering his passion for social issues and completely shifting gears in his career. Jacob became serious about his social activism in 2016 after the presidential election and contributed greatly to movements such as the water protection protest at Standing Rock. Today, Jacob contracts as a Community Supported Organizer for the nonprofit organization Backbone Campaign, where he focuses on organizing front-line and non-violent direct action.
Art has been a passion of Jacob’s for as long as he can remember — his mother was a portrait artist, so he grew up in an environment that nurtured creativity. Jacob’s skills are mostly self-taught, but his mother provided some tips and tricks on portrait drawing once that became his focus in 2002. Early on, Jacob focused mainly on black and white paintings but has since incorporated more color into his work to create a “gritty urban feel that brings light to darkness” and connects the past to the future.
We as a society crave new models for progressing the consciousness of humanity. As a community organizer, my work stems from this effort to innovate new ways of moving society forward. The out-dated models of how we live on this planet are failing, and we need new paradigms that uplift the planet to a higher state that heals our world. My organizing efforts have focused on multiple interconnected issues involving social justice and minority rights, as well as environmental protection. Currently, I immerse myself in progressing society in a multitude of ways.
I draw from my cultural heritage continuously as I work, using traditional ceremonious concepts, combined with art and activism with each event, rally and movement, taking us one step closer to a mindful planetary consciousness. I am stepping full time into this work in order to help co-create tangible goals instead of adding to opposition. We as human beings need to create new ways of connecting that break down imagined walls of separation.
I am a Native American artist of Blackfeet descent from Montana currently working with acrylics on canvas. I have been painting with acrylics for about ten years after retirement from office work. Rather than aiming for photo-realism with my subject matter, I endeavor to mine the spirit and mood with bright earthy colors. I share studio space with the artists at Yes Is A Feeling art gallery in the Steamplant Building in downtown Spokane.
I work hard to produce a professional product and also offer prints of some works to make it accessible and affordable to all who wish to have my art in their homes.
As a visual artist working with acrylics, I am endlessly seeking that elusive composition, that outstanding color, that singularity that I need to capture on canvas. But the search doesn’t end in a simple recreation of what I see, because inside all of the creatures and people and scenes I portray, I am also looking for the energy within to bring it out with the language of color. I want to appeal not only to my indigenous people but to all peoples and to share the beauty that I see in the simplest animal or the most complex human being’s face. This is what drives my art, this search to find the language of color and to be able to speak it with competence some day.
My subject matter includes portraits, scenery, animals and Native American peoples. I am an enthusiastic advocate for my people and my art reflects our Blackfeet people’s love of horses and bison, our ancestral lands, the energies and magic that these animals represent to us. I am challenged by the medium of paintbrush and canvas but energized by color and the inner life of all of creation and I hope to convey that excitement to the viewers of my art.
The question I’m asked most frequently is how a black doctor in his 50s working on the Navajo reservation started doing street art on said reservation. In retrospect, it was only natural for this evolution to occur.
I started working in a small community between the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley called Inscription House in 1987. I’d always been drawn to photography and built a darkroom shortly after my arrival on the Navajo Nation. My passion photographically is shooting black and white in a documentary style inspired by people like Eugene Smith, Eugene Richards, Joseph Koudelka and others. By going out and spending time with people in their homes and family camps, I have come to know them as friends. Interestingly, these home visits enhance my doctor/patient relationship by helping me be a more empathetic health care practitioner.
I’ve always been drawn to street art, graffiti and old school hip-hop. I was attracted to the energy of the culture in the 80s and though I was miles away from the epicenter, I thought of myself as a charter member of the Zulu Nation. I would travel to New York City to see graffiti on trains, on buildings and in galleries. I did some tagging in the 80s before coming to the Navajo Nation and participated with a major billboard “correction” on the reservation shortly after my arrival. My early interventions on the street were largely text based saying things like “Thank you Dr. King. I too am a dreamer” or “Smash Apartheid” and so on.
In 2009 I took a 3-month sabbatical to Brasil which coincided with a difficult period in my life. Though I wasn’t looking for an epiphany, I was fortunate to stumble upon a passionate group of artists working on the street who befriended me. It was during this time that I appreciated how photography could be a street art form. Inspired by Diego Rivera and Keith Haring, I’d become disinterested in showing my photographs in galleries isolated from the people I was photographing and wanted to pursue a more immediate relationship with my community reflecting back to them some of the beauty they’ve shared with me. And in truth, I was infatuated with the feeling I got being with the artists in Salvador do Bahia and wanting to find a way to keep that vibe going I started pasting images along the roadside in June 2009.
My early photographic influences include the work of Joseph Koudelka, Garry Winogrand, Charles Moore, Robert Frank, Eugene Smith, Gordon Parks, Larry Towell, Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meisalis, Roy DeCarava, Sebastio Salgado and Eugene Richards. I was blown away by Richards’ work in the late 80s and early 90s for Life Magazine and had an opportunity to spend 5 days picking his brain at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in 1991. It’s this one person with one camera, frequently with only one lens shooting black + white film in ambient light aesthetic that informs my eye as well as 25 years spent in my home darkroom pursing the zone system. It’s been an interesting challenge attempting to bring that look to black and white prints on regular bond paper coming off a toner based plotter. I’d like to think that my vision is a part of the storytelling, first person, humanist tradition of the people I look up to mixed with a healthy dose of Diego Rivera + Keith Haring.
Regardless, I give thanks that the journey continues.
People of Color Legislative Conference Areas of Focus Discussion for Spokane Region Saturday, October 12th, 2019
The summit has three main goals: 1) to stimulate dialogue between diverse POC organizations, community leaders, and state legislators of color to build statewide solidarity, unity and mobilizing capacity on the most important issues to our collective communities of color; 2) to organize a platform for community leaders of color to develop a Legislative Agenda of top priorities for the Senate and House Members of Color Caucus (MOCC) to push forward; and 3) to come out with a working list of who’s working on what issue in what region, so that organizations across the state can build on momentum made at the summit. This is not meant to pre-empt any individual community’s legislative priorities, only build a resource for connecting people and organizations with shared issues.
Racial Justice Community Leaders
“Racial Justice Community Leaders” were invited to the summit and asked to bring their organization’s legislative priorities and were “welcome to invite POC community leaders you know to register for the event.”
Community Leaders of Color
The purpose of the summit was to hear from and connect people of color community leaders and legislators of color to build solidarity and mobilizing capacity across the state for issues that are of highest priority to our collective communities of color.
Below are Spokane’s top 10 priorities for each of the categories discussed.
Racial and Criminal Justice
End cash bail
Decriminalize driving with 3rd degree suspend license
I-1000 (pro) affirmative action (ref. 88 on ballot)
Expedition of voting rights restoration of people with felonies
HB 1517: Risk assessment, etc. for DV and IPV (need racial equity lens plus broader rep from impacted population)
Rights and education for women who enter prison while pregnant
True blood legislation
Housing, Homelessness, Displacement, & Human Services
Statewide rent control
Just cause eviction statewide
Fair chance housing
Enhance reentry housing
More $ for permanent affordable housing
Civil-legal aid/right to council for eviction court
Build in rent grace period or remove 3 notice protection revocation
Decriminalizing public camping
Universal voluntary access to ECAP
Full day kindergarten, Headstart
Raise ECAP poverty threshold so more people qualify
Cultural competence for Pre-K teachers
Increase support for teachers plus families for accessing development resources
Fund to provide disciplinary diversion to keep kids in classroom
More teachers/authority figures of color
Race pay equity-equal pay
Racial health equity (tied for first priority)
Consideration of voting rights/participation in underrepresented communities (tied for first priority)
Ask for expulsion of Matt Shea (tied for second priority)
More $ resources towards impact of nuclear industry on communities of color (tied for second priority)
If you want to know what organizations and individuals registered for the event and represented people of color in our Spokane community, contact Terri Anderson and Jac Archer, the facilitators of the Spokane summit.
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