On November 29, 2017, the Block Museum was honored to host a special conversation with four contemporary Native artists. Each of the women on the panel works within a collaborative artistic practice that unites artists, community, and audience. From to participatory dance and collective narratives, to asynchronous poetry and public interventions these artists upend the notion of art as a singular and finite production.
Part of the Block’s mission is to be a convener for thought-provoking and interdisciplinary conversations. In keeping with this mission, this event was held on the 153 anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre which took place on November 29, 1864. To begin the panel, students from the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance led the audience in a poignant moment of remembrance.
Panelists included Rosy Simas (Seneca, choreographer and performer), Heid Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa, poet, writer and filmmaker), Andrea Carlson (Anishinaabe, visual artist), and Debra Yepa-Pappan (Jemez, digital multimedia). After individual presentations of their work, the artists tackled questions about the complexities and challenges of collaborative practice. The conversation turned to the nuance of collaboration, expanding the definition to include projects that collaborate with the future, with the earth itself, and with the invisible labor of light and sound.
The artists were joined in conversation by Kelly Wisecup, Associate Professor, Department of English and Bethany Hughes (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), co-founder of the Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies. This event was presented by the Block Museum of Art in partnership with Northwestern’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.