“Home has so many layers”: Le’Ana Asher and Lydia Cheshewalla on Art and Native Futurism [Video]

Considering the idea of home, land-based artist Lydia Cheshewalla (Osage, Cherokee, Dakota, Modoc, Xicanx) shared the complexity of the many places she’s connected with throughout her life.  

“I feel like I’m just trying to make the world be my home,” she said. “Home has so many layers.” 

On November 1, 2023 The Block partnered with Chicago’s Center for Native Futures to present Native Futures: Le’Ana Asher and Lydia Cheshewalla in Conversation.

Cheshewalla was joined by Illinois-based contemporary artist Le’Ana Asher (Ojibwe) for a conversation about the importance of Indigenous art spaces, their practices as artists, and the power of centering Native voices in both the arts and the world at large. Both artists were photographed by artist Rosalie Favell as part of The Block’s exhibition Rosalie Favell: Indigenous Artists Facing the Camera. Asher and Cheshewalla also have work installed at the Center for Native Futures’ inaugural exhibition Native Futures.  

Left: Rosalie Favell, Facing the Camera: Le’Ana Asher, Evanston, IL, 2023. Inkjet print. Image courtesy of the artist.
Right: Rosalie Favell, Facing the Camera: Lydia Cheshewalla, Evanston IL, 2023. Inkjet print. Image courtesy of the artist.

“There’s so many things on young people’s shoulders and on their minds,” “And when I think about the future, I also think every one of those things could be solved by Indigenous people: the way we think, the way we tend to land, the way we think about generations. The future is Indigenous.”  

Le’Ana Asher

Moderated by Lois Taylor Biggs (Cherokee Nation/White Earth Ojibwe), Rice Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, the conversation parsed the artists’ relationship to land, ancestry, and ultimately the future. Native Futures was co-presented as part of Northwestern’s 30 Days of Indigenous initiative, an expansive month-long series of programs to deepen community engagement with Indigenous arts, histories and practices.  

Watch the Conversation

Images from the Evening

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