Threads & Trails Artist Panel
Erica Larsen-Dockray, Cybele Moon, Steph Coley, Eve LaFountain, and Marissa Magdalena Sykes will discuss the historical women that inspired their work, their personal experiences as female artists, and the creative process behind the collaborative exhibition “Threads & Trails: Contemplations of Our Herstories.” This exhibition and panel were made possible by the generous support of the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Kimmel Charitable Foundation, Lincoln Community Foundation, Union Bank & Trust, UNL Research Council, and UNL Faculty Senate Convocations Committee.
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[00:00:02.370]Welcome to the Great Plains Art Museum
[00:00:04.500]at the Center for Great Plains studies.
[00:00:06.240]I'm Ashley Wilkinson,
[00:00:07.620]the director and curator of the museum.
[00:00:09.939]Thank you all for joining us today for our artist panel
[00:00:13.890]in conjunction with the exhibition,
[00:00:15.540]Friends and Trails - Contemplations of our Herstories.
[00:00:18.840]I'd like to begin by acknowledging
[00:00:21.900]that the University of Nebraska
[00:00:23.850]is a land-grant institution
[00:00:25.710]with campuses and programs on the past, present,
[00:00:28.740]and future homelands
[00:00:30.090]of the Pawnee Ponca, Otoe-Missouria,
[00:00:33.270]Omaha, Dakota, Lakota, Kaw, Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples,
[00:00:40.140]as well as those of the relocated
[00:00:42.000]Ho-Chunk, Sac and Fox, and Iowa peoples.
[00:00:45.570]The land we currently call Nebraska
[00:00:47.520]has always been, and will continue to be,
[00:00:49.837]an indigenous homeland.
[00:00:52.590]Please take a moment to consider the legacies
[00:00:55.230]of more than 150 years
[00:00:57.150]of displacement, violence, settlement, and survival
[00:01:01.410]that bring us here today.
[00:01:03.779](moment of silence)
[00:01:06.720]This acknowledgement and the centering of Indigenous Peoples
[00:01:10.290]is a start as we move forward together.
[00:01:14.670]So support for today's exhibition and program
[00:01:17.717]was provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Grant Foundation,
[00:01:21.780]Humanities Nebraska, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment,
[00:01:25.290]Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation,
[00:01:29.340]Lincoln Community Foundation, Union Bank and Trust,
[00:01:32.760]UNL Research Council,
[00:01:34.470]and the UNL Faculty Senate Convocation Committee.
[00:01:37.283]As you can tell, a lot of people,
[00:01:39.501]a lot of sponsors
[00:01:41.784]and other people have been involved in this project,
[00:01:45.047]and we should thank them for making this happen.
[00:01:48.840]You can clap if you'd like.
[00:01:51.187]It's been a long process, and I'd like to thank the artists
[00:01:53.640]for all of their hard work.
[00:01:54.824]And I'd also like to thank the staff
[00:01:56.622]at the Center and Museum
[00:01:58.770]for helping make this project possible.
[00:02:00.750]We couldn't have done it without everybody.
[00:02:04.760]So we hope many of you have had the chance to see
[00:02:06.960]the show downstairs, but if not,
[00:02:08.520]there'll be time after this panel
[00:02:10.410]for you to go down there and ask questions of the artists.
[00:02:13.245]And the goal today is for me not to talk very much,
[00:02:17.340]but to give the floor over to these five women.
[00:02:20.787]So I'm gonna start by asking each one of you
[00:02:24.360]to just introduce yourself and mention briefly
[00:02:26.820]what your focus was for the project
[00:02:28.770]and you'll just have pass the mic there.
[00:02:33.030]Hi, my name is Erica Marson Dockery,
[00:02:35.580]I was the co-director of this project, or exhibition,
[00:02:39.224]I created the wagon with projection.
[00:02:43.005]I grew up in Scottsdale, Nebraska,
[00:02:45.180]so my focus is my connection I feel
[00:02:48.300]with women who came out to California,
[00:02:50.445]sort of on their own volition,
[00:02:52.110]or just the struggles and resilience that they experienced
[00:02:55.110]as I did going from Scotts Bluff to LA where I live now.
[00:03:02.152](speaking in foreign language)
[00:03:06.408]I'm Eve LaFountain.
[00:03:07.965]I also am known by the name (indistinct)
[00:03:12.360]which means turtle spirit woman in Ojibwe,
[00:03:14.940]which is my tribe's language.
[00:03:16.682]You'll hear me say that over and over downstairs.
[00:03:22.227]I am coming today from Santa Fe, New Mexico,
[00:03:26.760]where I live with my family.
[00:03:28.860]We lived in Los Angeles for many years
[00:03:31.320]where I connected with Erica.
[00:03:33.210]You'll see our maps downstairs also that show
[00:03:36.360]our long trajectories.
[00:03:37.965]But, I come from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa
[00:03:40.710]Tribe in North Dakota, and that's my indigenous side.
[00:03:45.570]I'm also Jewish on my mother's side,
[00:03:48.120]and there's a lot of history
[00:03:50.285]with all of these kinds of intersections of people,
[00:03:53.645]especially along the planes
[00:03:56.010]and I currently am living on,
[00:03:57.810]like literally our house is on top of the original
[00:04:00.810]Santa Fe trail pathway.
[00:04:02.589]The wagon kind of divots are like
[00:04:06.045]going through our studio and bedroom,
[00:04:09.060]so this has been really fun project to be working on
[00:04:13.110]while thinking about our homelands,
[00:04:15.360]and I'm excited to talk more about the project.
[00:04:20.783]Hi, I'm Marisa (indistinct).
[00:04:24.357]I'm a conceptual artist
[00:04:25.740]based out of Los Angeles, California.
[00:04:28.350]I'm originally from the San Joaquin Valley,
[00:04:30.330]which is the agrarian part of California,
[00:04:32.685]and Erica invited me to talk about
[00:04:36.326]what many people see as the end of the trail.
[00:04:39.630]So there's so many people who moved westward
[00:04:42.888]to find their destiny, to find their treasure,
[00:04:46.050]to find their future,
[00:04:47.460]and as a lifelong southern Californian girl,
[00:04:51.664]I understand that that's still happening today.
[00:04:54.840]So there's still this sense of like, oh,
[00:04:56.850]the west is a destination,
[00:04:58.650]but what are the people who originated there
[00:05:01.710]who have deep roots there?
[00:05:03.000]So I was invited in to bring in that perspective
[00:05:05.885]and while I was doing my research,
[00:05:07.709]I started to wonder a lot about the history of women
[00:05:10.947]that was completely erased.
[00:05:12.682]So my piece deals both with
[00:05:15.805]the contemporary ideas of gentrification
[00:05:19.325]and displacement of especially BIPOC people,
[00:05:22.950]because it's always going to be my perspective
[00:05:24.810]as a BIPOC woman in this body.
[00:05:26.749]And also considering how many people were there before
[00:05:32.246]the United States westward expansion.
[00:05:35.480]And in my research I found some pretty galling
[00:05:42.248]galling stories of how you could just move
[00:05:44.712]for a couple of miles and you would encounter native people.
[00:05:48.804]And so it gives sort of
[00:05:50.728]breath to how many people
[00:05:53.432]were murdered or asked to move.
[00:05:57.371]And so in doing this,
[00:05:59.400]that coincided with a very common thing
[00:06:01.613]that happens in Los Angeles,
[00:06:03.810]which is I was moving again because things are expensive.
[00:06:08.910]And once again
[00:06:12.030]a landowner was asking me to take plants,
[00:06:16.230]I have cactuses that are considered undesirable,
[00:06:20.252]and so I've had to move some of them for 10 years
[00:06:24.120]from place to place because they're under threat.
[00:06:27.991]And I started to see this sort of
[00:06:33.390]this narrative of how the plants have been there longer
[00:06:36.630]than any of us.
[00:06:38.070]And so they became a symbol for all of these people
[00:06:41.171]who've been asked to move or who've been removed
[00:06:44.760]or who haven't made it.
[00:06:46.770]And so that's a little explanation of my work.
[00:06:54.207]I'm Steph Coley.
[00:06:55.470]I'm from Scotts Bluff, Nebraska,
[00:06:58.170]and mine's gonna be a little bit shorter than that.
[00:07:02.550]I just did,
[00:07:04.412]dug into the history of a Black American
[00:07:07.154]and I focused on how the slave
[00:07:09.750]became a Black American citizen
[00:07:12.660]and the belonging that I connect with
[00:07:16.832]being from West Nebraska and moving,
[00:07:22.650]well I moved to Seward.
[00:07:25.110]So not far, but you know, it was trauma for me
[00:07:29.040]and how that opened my eyes to new parts of my art
[00:07:33.083]and how I wanted to express that.
[00:07:37.292]My name is Sibel Moon.
[00:07:39.540]I currently live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
[00:07:41.820]I'm originally from Detroit, Michigan,
[00:07:43.740]and I'm a co-director with Erica on this project.
[00:07:49.532]my part of this project included
[00:07:52.470]becoming a visual dramaturg.
[00:07:54.540]So dramaturgy is researching,
[00:07:58.050]finding out information about things
[00:08:00.900]when you are looking at theater.
[00:08:02.700]So what I did was assist the artist somewhat
[00:08:06.960]with finding research of 19th century women,
[00:08:09.930]but then I also took information about each of these artists
[00:08:13.650]and created art from that.
[00:08:15.420]So the places that they are from,
[00:08:17.250]the places that they feel connected to,
[00:08:19.380]and then we created the paths on the textile art
[00:08:23.760]that's downstairs and the collages that I created
[00:08:26.520]have places that they have lived.
[00:08:28.690]So creating art, it's a visual dramaturgy,
[00:08:31.740]it's also information.
[00:08:32.970]So there's data but also art at the same time.
[00:08:37.500]Thanks to each of you
[00:08:39.329]and I think I'd like you all to know a little bit more
[00:08:42.600]about why this is happening.
[00:08:44.412]So background, we started planning this project in
[00:08:49.260]either late 2018 or early 2019.
[00:08:52.740]It's been delayed a few times,
[00:08:54.600]COVID was a factor of course,
[00:08:56.685]but I think maybe Erica,
[00:08:58.220]if you wanna give us a little bit of background
[00:09:00.150]about why this is happening
[00:09:02.070]and kind of what the impetus was for it.
[00:09:04.680]Yeah, so originally
[00:09:07.166]this was a second phase of a collaboration that Sibel
[00:09:10.980]and I did and focusing on my connection I had
[00:09:13.860]with women of the past,
[00:09:17.420]and we originally envisioned it as me doing work
[00:09:22.140]that filled a gallery and as time went on
[00:09:24.780]and social justice and movements happened,
[00:09:27.060]we realized like this is,
[00:09:29.400]this is a really white show
[00:09:30.777]and I have way too many amazing artists that I know
[00:09:34.220]that can bring other voices to this era,
[00:09:38.970]and particularly women of different backgrounds.
[00:09:41.970]And so what you're looking at right now,
[00:09:45.450]are the original artists that I thought of
[00:09:47.479]and I begged them, I said,
[00:09:48.312]"Hey, I have this idea for a show,
[00:09:50.880]would you be interested in bringing this lens
[00:09:54.060]to this exhibition?"
[00:09:55.440]And they all said yes.
[00:09:56.490]And I'm like eternally grateful
[00:09:58.479]because I don't think there would've been a show
[00:10:02.220]if they wouldn't have said yes.
[00:10:03.930]So that was really where it came about.
[00:10:06.300]And we talked with Ashley about this new direction
[00:10:09.719]and they were on board and oh my gosh,
[00:10:12.360]I can't even begin to describe how this museum has shown up
[00:10:16.080]for us to create this show in so, so many ways,
[00:10:19.590]more than we ever expected. So yeah.
[00:10:22.650]Yeah, it's been a true collaboration over the past
[00:10:25.681]however many years,
[00:10:27.420]and I think a lot of you
[00:10:28.713]have had a chance to see the work
[00:10:30.914]and all of the artists have written
[00:10:33.399]statements and the exhibition guide that's downstairs
[00:10:36.720]that tells you about their work.
[00:10:38.260]But I think now would also be a great time
[00:10:40.460]if you wanna talk a little bit more,
[00:10:42.199]if you have historical women that you were particularly
[00:10:45.840]inspired by or more that you'd like our audience to know
[00:10:49.620]about your pieces.
[00:10:51.030]So whoever wants to start, Erica?
[00:10:53.170]Yeah, okay. I guess I can start.
[00:10:58.553]the first thing that I wanted to do
[00:11:01.200]was really focus on women who went on the,
[00:11:04.590]specifically like the California Trail,
[00:11:06.330]that's the trail I went on,
[00:11:08.071]and the first thing that I found out was that
[00:11:11.292]not a lot of women went because they wanted to,
[00:11:14.334]most of them were forced,
[00:11:16.230]they didn't actually wanna go
[00:11:17.700]and very few of them are actually single women.
[00:11:20.490]Rebecca Ketchum has an excerpt in my piece
[00:11:23.850]and she was one of the few single women
[00:11:26.550]who went on the Oregon Trail to be a teacher on her own.
[00:11:30.150]And her story is very interesting because there was a lot of
[00:11:35.550]tension between her on the wagon tree because she was paying
[00:11:39.720]for as much as the man to go along the trail.
[00:11:43.080]She had her own horse,
[00:11:44.490]but she was expected to do the services
[00:11:46.470]of cooking and cleaning
[00:11:47.550]and halfway through it she realized that she was actually
[00:11:49.740]paying for those services and refused to do them
[00:11:54.330]and then there was a lot of tension, things like that.
[00:11:56.520]So that was really fascinating, I felt like.
[00:11:59.910]And also a lot of them
[00:12:01.269]in my excerpts that are paralleled with the journals,
[00:12:05.854]I talk about my kids
[00:12:07.710]and really there wasn't a lot of mention of children along
[00:12:11.480]in the journals unless they were
[00:12:13.556]ill or being harmed in some awful way.
[00:12:17.972]And so that was something that was really interesting
[00:12:20.814]that I felt like was just what they decided to share
[00:12:24.420]in their journals along this really immense undertaking
[00:12:28.920]to cross hundreds of miles.
[00:12:34.680]Must it go down?
[00:12:40.350]So for my pieces, there's two main components.
[00:12:46.320]There's the photography and then there's the film debut.
[00:12:50.972]The film debut is called
[00:12:53.587]"My Ghost Dance Scavenged and Bartered,"
[00:12:57.300]and it really came from thinking about the ghost dance
[00:13:02.370]in particular, as this amazing time in indigenous history
[00:13:08.220]where there was a kind of
[00:13:11.910]spiritual leader who
[00:13:15.273]had this vision that if the people
[00:13:17.670]did these certain dances and sang these certain songs,
[00:13:23.640]people who had come to invade the land
[00:13:26.085]would disappear, they would all go back
[00:13:29.310]to where they came from.
[00:13:30.420]There would be harmony again, the buffalo would come back.
[00:13:35.220]It was towards the end of the 19th century
[00:13:38.820]when we were talking about in all these trails
[00:13:41.250]and the pioneer era where people are moving further
[00:13:44.100]and further into different native territories
[00:13:48.120]that didn't have a lot of settlers at that time yet.
[00:13:51.810]And it was really this moment of beautiful hope
[00:13:56.190]that the people had that it was like this last ditch effort
[00:14:00.300]sort of to bring back the old times,
[00:14:02.923]and the US government was very threatened by that idea
[00:14:08.170]and kind of treated it in the same way
[00:14:09.720]as a terrorist group now and ended up
[00:14:14.250]sort of the wounded knee massacre that happened in 1890.
[00:14:19.284]So that was almost all women and children
[00:14:23.880]who were doing this dance and gathering as a community
[00:14:28.080]of several different nations who had kind of come
[00:14:30.420]to be a part of these dances,
[00:14:32.070]which was really just about hope
[00:14:33.990]and this dream of a better future really
[00:14:38.546]when thinking about the past as well
[00:14:41.190]because we talked a lot also about this liminal space
[00:14:44.700]and living in a liminal space of
[00:14:47.340]being sort of in between these past generations
[00:14:50.070]and these future generations.
[00:14:51.017]And at that time, people were really
[00:14:54.626]going through a lot of change and upheaval.
[00:14:57.244]And there were several artists
[00:14:59.520]who also recorded this time of change and upheaval
[00:15:02.220]on ledger paper,
[00:15:03.804]and that was from the Indian agents,
[00:15:06.090]the trading posts had a bunch of ledgers
[00:15:08.610]that they were recording things like the rations
[00:15:11.700]and commodities that the people were getting
[00:15:13.830]or even just literally like my last name, La Fountain,
[00:15:17.520]was first written down in a ledger book
[00:15:19.660]of trying to give a name to the different people
[00:15:23.719]in the different family groups who didn't have,
[00:15:27.259]well in my case we were up north,
[00:15:29.700]so French names, we didn't have french names.
[00:15:31.830]And so they gave each of the family members a French name,
[00:15:35.520]wrote it in a ledger book,
[00:15:36.960]so that paper has a lot of pretty heavy meaning as well.
[00:15:40.023]And so the photographs are all printed on anti ledger book
[00:15:44.310]paper that would've been used by the Indian agents,
[00:15:47.640]but also would've been used by the native people
[00:15:50.460]who were being removed from their lands
[00:15:52.140]to record their histories and what was happening
[00:15:55.380]during this time of transition
[00:15:57.270]and during this time of land invasion
[00:15:59.850]and different kinds of stories of that happening.
[00:16:03.990]And all of the photographs are places around New Mexico
[00:16:09.001]that were created to look like or kind of perpetuate
[00:16:12.840]the myth of the Wild West,
[00:16:14.610]which was kind of creating itself around this time period
[00:16:17.820]that we're talking about as well,
[00:16:19.290]like Wild West shows where people like Geronimo
[00:16:22.410]and Sitting Bull were elders at that time,
[00:16:24.330]but participated in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show,
[00:16:28.462]kind of perpetuating their own mythologies
[00:16:31.470]while they were still alive.
[00:16:32.782]And all of the photographs are taken mostly
[00:16:37.020]in Western movie sets.
[00:16:38.521]There's like a ledge looking out over the Rio Grande
[00:16:41.850]from Los Alamos,
[00:16:42.750]which also has a pretty heavy history
[00:16:44.250]of the nuclear development.
[00:16:46.950]There's one of the movie ranches
[00:16:48.930]I photographed before it happened is Bonanza Creek
[00:16:51.540]where unfortunately the shooting happened
[00:16:53.682]where Alec Baldwin was involved
[00:16:56.580]and shot this cinematographer and killed her.
[00:16:58.980]So there's a lot of new history that's always happening
[00:17:03.180]with these kinds of places
[00:17:04.382]and a lot of those places were created to kind of perpetuate
[00:17:08.280]this mythology of the West,
[00:17:09.750]but they're all in the west and they're all kind of
[00:17:12.420]in and around Santa Fe, which has its own mythologies.
[00:17:15.420]So there's a lot of layers of the history there,
[00:17:18.540]take up forever but (laughing)
[00:17:21.060]but yeah, it's a lot up there,
[00:17:22.620]it's a very heavy kind of thing.
[00:17:24.415]And the soundtrack is actually original
[00:17:26.473]recordings of ghost dance songs that were recorded in 1894.
[00:17:30.930]So it was actually after the massacre had happened.
[00:17:34.560]So the people who are singing those songs still had that
[00:17:37.830]sort of glimmer of hope that even though
[00:17:39.540]there was this horrible massacre where about 300 people
[00:17:42.540]were killed, they still had this hope
[00:17:45.240]that if they saved these songs for future generations
[00:17:48.150]that maybe someday they would actually be able to invoke
[00:17:51.987]the the hope of the ghost dance.
[00:17:57.829]I took too long last time so I'll be brief.
[00:17:59.700]First I wanna make a correction,
[00:18:01.546]which is that Erica said she begged all these women,
[00:18:04.830]and really what she did was she said, I have a good idea.
[00:18:08.250]And we said, yes, you always have good ideas,
[00:18:10.346]we'd love to be involved.
[00:18:13.088]What I will say as far as the layering of history,
[00:18:15.725]there were so many stories that were compelling
[00:18:18.270]and I'm hoping that there will be like a part two, three,
[00:18:21.589]so we can tell some more of those stories.
[00:18:24.490]But you'll see some of that layering
[00:18:26.810]in the choices of plants that are in the cacti couch
[00:18:31.050]because there is of course the indigenous history,
[00:18:34.620]there is the history of the Mexicans who were there,
[00:18:37.850]I even included some aloes
[00:18:41.100]which are not native to the west coast,
[00:18:43.350]they're actually from Africa,
[00:18:45.120]as kind of a nod to all of the BIPOC people
[00:18:48.189]who have built California to be this destination point
[00:18:52.869]and who don't always enjoy all of its rewards.
[00:19:03.712]So my part of the project,
[00:19:06.768]I remember getting on Zoom and being like,
[00:19:10.710]I don't wanna do it anymore
[00:19:13.568]because slavery, of course in our country,
[00:19:16.620]is quite a dark part of our history.
[00:19:19.447]And I remember being in school,
[00:19:22.950]being the only Black girl in my class,
[00:19:24.794]it was always uncomfortable
[00:19:27.750]and mostly because they would look at me
[00:19:30.720]and I was supposed to know who I was
[00:19:35.994]I don't, I don't really know why.
[00:19:38.474]And so digging into that history and learning
[00:19:42.074]some of the things that were omitted or changed
[00:19:45.472]really broke my heart
[00:19:50.664]and really helped me discover
[00:19:52.020]more about myself that I wanted to
[00:19:54.469]present to the world and stop being so
[00:20:02.310]So my part,
[00:20:05.190]I have quite a few pieces and it's actually condensed
[00:20:08.610]from what I had in the beginning.
[00:20:11.430]I am a multimedia artist,
[00:20:13.230]so I wanted to do pretty much everything,
[00:20:15.960]sing, write a story, do some paintings.
[00:20:19.333]So each piece is very dense,
[00:20:23.790]and I also wrote it all out for you guys,
[00:20:27.780]but they told me to take that out too. (laughing)
[00:20:33.134]So I really want people to just
[00:20:36.073]feel how they feel about my pieces
[00:20:39.690]and not push my own
[00:20:42.240]projections onto that.
[00:20:45.070]The pieces that I presented to you are really
[00:20:52.680]something to be happy about
[00:20:55.020]because though it was a dark and very scary at times
[00:20:59.970]to learn about the true atrocities that were done to people
[00:21:05.130]that look like me,
[00:21:06.292]there's a lot of pride and strength as well
[00:21:10.254]that they endured and it and I'm alive because they did.
[00:21:15.000]And so it makes me very happy
[00:21:17.512]to be able to actually say that with a smile on my face
[00:21:21.720]and not tears.
[00:21:22.553]So that's my part of the pieces
[00:21:26.430]that I think you should know.
[00:21:31.753]I have two different pieces in this show
[00:21:35.790]and one of them is the map.
[00:21:37.620]So it's a map of the United States and it has all the paths
[00:21:40.500]of all the artists and the places
[00:21:42.090]that are important to them.
[00:21:43.560]And then there's the corresponding portraits
[00:21:46.320]and those are made out of maps.
[00:21:48.189]And so when Erica and I started on this,
[00:21:51.753]I was doing research,
[00:21:54.030]I was reading about the women in the 19th century
[00:21:56.550]who were on the trails
[00:21:57.867]and then as we brought the other artists in,
[00:22:00.570]I was excited to see what research they were bringing
[00:22:04.290]to the picture and so I just was reading
[00:22:06.510]everybody's research, which was exciting.
[00:22:08.460]And then as I was taking these artist's pathways,
[00:22:12.473]I was doing research on the places that they had been
[00:22:16.110]and that were important to them.
[00:22:18.480]And creating the map portraits was really fascinating to me
[00:22:22.560]as I was collecting maps.
[00:22:24.600]I collected contemporary maps, vintage maps,
[00:22:27.230]and then I started looking for maps online too.
[00:22:30.690]I was looking for something that was visual that I could use
[00:22:35.610]for the portrait but also had information in it.
[00:22:38.580]So you've got those two things together,
[00:22:40.920]and it was fascinating what I was finding it.
[00:22:45.990]There's piles of maps at my house,
[00:22:48.267]and that's how much I use.
[00:22:49.920]But what was really interesting is how
[00:22:52.320]different places have been interpreted over time.
[00:22:55.650]So maybe a map of Lincoln from a hundred years ago
[00:22:58.980]is very simple.
[00:23:00.240]The map of University of Nebraska, Lincoln,
[00:23:03.360]was much smaller and much more dense,
[00:23:05.760]the one I picked up in 2019 when I was here.
[00:23:08.430]So looking at all different kinds of maps,
[00:23:10.980]how can I use them as a visual,
[00:23:12.660]but how are they also sharing information with us?
[00:23:15.990]What information are they sharing?
[00:23:17.651]What cities were bolded 100 years ago
[00:23:21.960]and what cities are bolded now?
[00:23:23.550]And then I started finding maps that were created
[00:23:27.540]probably between 1920 and 1960 that had caricatures on them.
[00:23:33.720]So there were maps of some western states
[00:23:37.110]with some really horrible caricatures on them
[00:23:39.650]that were supposedly tourist maps.
[00:23:42.930]So it is so fascinating how we communicate information
[00:23:47.264]in this country over time and what is out there
[00:23:51.570]and how it is used to
[00:23:55.410]share pathways but also share stereotypes.
[00:23:59.640]So I think I found that really, really fascinating
[00:24:01.650]as I was delving into things.
[00:24:05.880]Thanks all of you for sharing the information.
[00:24:08.070]And I just have one more question
[00:24:09.750]before we open it up to audience questions.
[00:24:13.620]So this is a collaborative exhibition,
[00:24:15.990]we all work together and I think it might be interesting
[00:24:19.620]to just hear what you think about how the process went
[00:24:22.280]with all five women being able to collaborate
[00:24:25.860]on this project about women and sharing this with everyone.
[00:24:31.144](indistinct) have any thoughts on that?
[00:24:34.504]Do you want the mic.
[00:24:39.960]Well, Zoom is a thing, luckily,
[00:24:44.398]that we were able to take advantage of.
[00:24:48.990]And I know that when I asked everyone
[00:24:52.080]to be a part of this exhibition,
[00:24:54.978]I think we were all very aware
[00:24:56.010]of what it was gonna ask of us,
[00:24:58.110]like to really kind of go places and really think about
[00:25:03.300]the struggles and the history that is not great history
[00:25:08.002]and thinking about how we still experience
[00:25:11.416]so much of that today.
[00:25:13.421]So I know that the process,
[00:25:16.740]I think Sibel and I were really conscious
[00:25:19.500]of we're holding space on Zoom
[00:25:22.140]for something that's really meaningful to us
[00:25:24.450]and that we
[00:25:26.880]wanna support each other in a way that was really profound
[00:25:31.230]and important and thoughtful and mindful of
[00:25:34.359]what we were exploring.
[00:25:37.410]And one of the things that
[00:25:40.800]really let me know that I was on the right track
[00:25:43.800]was our first Zoom, and I don't even know,
[00:25:47.640]maybe in the first five minutes,
[00:25:49.830]we all have these connections that we didn't even know
[00:25:52.558]which was kind of scary and crazy and amazing
[00:25:56.898]and it just was like this signal that yes,
[00:26:00.750]no, this is definitely what we should be doing.
[00:26:04.919]But yeah, I think that us holding space as a collective,
[00:26:10.680]as a collaboration,
[00:26:12.120]but then that transferring into holding space
[00:26:16.230]in this gallery
[00:26:20.809]was really great.
[00:26:21.642]And I think once we saw all of the work together.
[00:26:25.590]Also, none of these artists had met until last week,
[00:26:30.930]which was also pretty amazing
[00:26:32.580]because we know each other so well.
[00:26:35.610]So this last week was really special
[00:26:38.160]and it's a very special show and I feel like
[00:26:41.529]I'm very grateful because I knew all of these amazing people
[00:26:46.500]before and I was just waiting for the portal to open up
[00:26:50.580]and we all actually started working together.
[00:26:53.250]That's how I feel about it.
[00:26:55.790]But yeah, it's just a very special show
[00:26:57.948]and I think that you can feel that when you go down there
[00:27:00.540]and see all the work and all of us just sort of
[00:27:03.300]bringing our voices together.
[00:27:07.913]Does anybody else have anything to add
[00:27:09.230]or anything else you want to say about the project
[00:27:11.327]before I let people ask you questions?
[00:27:16.620]Does anyone have a question
[00:27:18.060]and if you'd like to use the mic,
[00:27:19.950]we can pass one on to you.
[00:27:21.840]Does anyone in the audience have a question for our panel?
[00:27:28.770]I can just project.
[00:27:30.713]Erica, you used the word "portal,"
[00:27:33.221]sort of opened in creating the project.
[00:27:37.590]I'm curious if any portals have opened
[00:27:40.480]to future projects for you through this work?
[00:27:46.260]Yes. Yeah, I'm gonna let (indistinct) take this one
[00:27:49.470]because she's, yeah.
[00:27:50.760]Literally have a portal downstairs.
[00:27:54.240]So the screen is actually a live stream from the West Coast.
[00:27:59.814]So one of the things that Erica proposed
[00:28:02.940]when I said I did something really impractical,
[00:28:04.959]I made a piece out of living plants, like, oh my gosh,
[00:28:08.261]how we gonna get a across state line,
[00:28:09.840]was to say why don't we do a live stream?
[00:28:12.150]And I was like, oh,
[00:28:13.080]but then it's gonna look tiny, but why?
[00:28:15.632]And I realized that it became a space
[00:28:18.570]where people could send messages.
[00:28:20.727]So concurrent with this show
[00:28:23.153]that is sitting in front of a cultural center,
[00:28:27.468]which will be hosting a show for a couple of months for
[00:28:33.180]contemporary Native American artists,
[00:28:36.075]and so those artists as well as the other artists
[00:28:38.970]that are involved in that California Arts community
[00:28:41.880]have been made aware that there is a live stream
[00:28:44.100]to this gallery.
[00:28:45.300]And so from time to time you may see some artists
[00:28:47.910]who will just travel through and send messages here.
[00:28:51.094]And so they're very aware of that
[00:28:53.370]and I'm really excited to see what's going to unfold.
[00:28:56.670]Particularly next weekend,
[00:28:58.230]we have what's called the many Winters gathering of elders,
[00:29:01.680]which is a gathering of many native nations
[00:29:04.050]from around the United States on that Coastal Bluff.
[00:29:09.810]And so I'm really interested to see what happens
[00:29:14.734]and if you guys wanna send any communications back,
[00:29:18.257]I would love to hear how those messages were received.
[00:29:22.934]Yeah, that's good point.
[00:29:26.730]Any other few types of work coming out of this project?
[00:29:30.630]Well I know that we've been talking about
[00:29:33.420]work involving mothers
[00:29:36.090]because there's a few of us that are mothers and how
[00:29:40.920]that sort of been
[00:29:42.960]this other facet of what we've been exploring as well.
[00:29:47.675]We're also interested in traveling the show
[00:29:50.486]and seeing other places where it might exist
[00:29:55.230]in other areas of the US.
[00:29:56.880]I think we're looking forward to any other reason
[00:29:59.610]to have a slumber party again like we had (laughing).
[00:30:04.817]But yeah, I feel like that
[00:30:06.358]this conversation is not ending here.
[00:30:10.853]I feel like that I knew that all of these wonderful women
[00:30:14.614]would find connections with each other
[00:30:16.590]and I hope that more work comes out it. Yeah.
[00:30:21.750]Any other questions?
[00:30:24.300]What piece of advice would you give a younger artist like me
[00:30:29.798]who looks like,
[00:30:32.355]sometimes struggles to show
[00:30:36.097]like basics because I know (indistinct).
[00:30:42.738]I'm just wondering what piece of advice would you give me
[00:30:49.218]letting my voice to be heard through my pieces of art?
[00:30:56.130]Are you located here in Nebraska?
[00:31:05.400]Do not stop.
[00:31:09.120]It does not matter
[00:31:11.100]if the people that come to your art
[00:31:14.910]do not understand.
[00:31:17.730]You have to give them the opportunity.
[00:31:21.030]It's their responsibility to push themselves to that level.
[00:31:25.920]But your art is there for a purpose and if you let it die,
[00:31:31.830]you're letting part of yourself die.
[00:31:33.900]So if you allow yourself to really push
[00:31:37.680]even if it's hard it, you will find reward.
[00:31:45.060]I would say connect with spaces like this,
[00:31:47.220]connect with Ashley.
[00:31:48.720]Yes, there's people who advocate for your voice,
[00:31:52.130]so find them.
[00:31:55.200]I think also, I mean,
[00:31:58.470]you asking that made all of these
[00:32:00.840]wild memories flood back of terrible critiques
[00:32:05.670]that I've had in the past of
[00:32:07.350]specifically the work that's here right now,
[00:32:11.640]and how hard it was in that moment
[00:32:14.280]to hear people say such horrible things to my face.
[00:32:17.904]But then that just made me
[00:32:20.190]wanna show it even more, you know?
[00:32:22.350]So I think pushing through stuff that don't stop,
[00:32:26.730]like don't stop making it,
[00:32:27.750]but also like let that light of fire under you
[00:32:30.720]that it needs to be seen more
[00:32:32.490]because obviously these conversations need to be had
[00:32:35.071]and people do need to confront this history
[00:32:39.450]and I think what's kind of amazing about
[00:32:41.760]that moment that Erica was talking about
[00:32:44.100]where it was like this big cracking open
[00:32:47.910]and awakening of oh, we need to include more voices
[00:32:51.060]all the time in every conversation.
[00:32:53.588]I think right now is especially a really good time
[00:32:56.940]to go in as an artist
[00:32:59.280]and you don't have to struggle as much as our foremothers
[00:33:03.420]have had to struggle to get their work seen.
[00:33:06.969]You know, why there're not big more great women artists
[00:33:10.560]because they weren't allowed to be seen.
[00:33:12.810]So now we are allowed to be seen,
[00:33:15.240]we're allowed to be part of the conversation
[00:33:16.830]and there's yeah, amazing institutions that are also
[00:33:19.440]run by amazing women who want to share these voices
[00:33:22.620]and want to have these stories told.
[00:33:24.900]So don't get discouraged by people who might
[00:33:27.960]not understand it, you will find your place for it
[00:33:31.092]and it just takes some time and sometimes patience.
[00:33:38.520]I think until now there's been this wild assumption
[00:33:41.652]that because art is mainstream,
[00:33:44.610]that it's speaking to everyone.
[00:33:46.710]And I think that there were a lot of us who would go
[00:33:49.530]into major institutions and wouldn't see ourselves.
[00:33:52.815]And so now that we are getting
[00:33:57.420]some airplay, now that we are getting some wall space,
[00:34:00.060]then we see who connects with us.
[00:34:02.700]So I would say that your work will find its audience.
[00:34:06.870]Not all pieces are for everyone,
[00:34:09.540]but your work will find its audience,
[00:34:11.760]and the more specific it is, the more universal it becomes.
[00:34:18.240]So there have been so many times in my studio
[00:34:20.940]where I was actively discouraged from making pieces
[00:34:23.970]because the people who were coming in did not understand
[00:34:26.910]what I was saying, but it was in the minutiae,
[00:34:30.030]in the very small details,
[00:34:32.340]that everybody would start to come in and go like,
[00:34:35.430]oh, you've been thinking about that?
[00:34:37.471]I've been thinking about that too.
[00:34:40.020]So just make it personal and you will find your audience,
[00:34:44.370]people will connect with it.
[00:34:49.350]Any other questions?
[00:34:53.623]I wonder if you could talk more
[00:34:55.560]about the fact that you are all women.
[00:34:58.080]I'm hearing lots of
[00:34:59.970]different ways of describing the work.
[00:35:01.410]There's lot of elements that are personal to you,
[00:35:03.672]there's elements of the past and the present,
[00:35:06.632]but we have an entire panel of women.
[00:35:09.270]So I wonder if we could get a little bit more,
[00:35:11.070]I mean we've been talking about it a little bit,
[00:35:13.500]but let's set up just even a little bit more
[00:35:16.320]about what that connecting part is
[00:35:17.820]and then beyond that too,
[00:35:19.650]you said you found lots of surprising connections
[00:35:23.310]between the five of you.
[00:35:25.652]What are those, if you don't mind sharing?
[00:35:29.190]Do you want to start?
[00:35:30.610]No, I don't want to start this one.
[00:35:32.410](indistinct) or something.
[00:35:37.015]Start from the middle.
[00:35:37.848]It's a compound question.
[00:35:43.060]I think I've really learned to relish
[00:35:46.530]the conversations that happen between women
[00:35:48.960]because there are topics that we've just been socialized
[00:35:52.680]to kind of like leave out
[00:35:54.900]and then when we come together they come up.
[00:35:57.660]So there's the comfort of that space.
[00:35:59.730]Like always when we would have our meetings,
[00:36:02.474]which has been really lovely,
[00:36:04.558]and as far as some of the surprising things that happened,
[00:36:08.280]just, I think,
[00:36:14.277]one of the first things was that we realized
[00:36:15.600]that we had like
[00:36:17.100]mutual history, that her first spouse,
[00:36:20.217]grew up where I grew up
[00:36:22.350]and things like that where we're just like what?
[00:36:27.480]Which has only gotten more and more
[00:36:30.480]as we've gotten to see each other.
[00:36:31.860]We knew each other for like now,
[00:36:35.130]a long time.
[00:36:36.600]But face-to-face there were all of these other things
[00:36:38.880]that were kind of like, oh my gosh,
[00:36:40.650]like you care deeply about the same, very specific thing.
[00:36:44.820]So there it is, in the minutiae again.
[00:36:49.440]Push it that way.
[00:36:52.710]A huge thing that happened for me through this was that
[00:36:59.055]I had a baby so I got pregnant and grew this child
[00:37:03.660]that's over there.
[00:37:08.190]When we started this,
[00:37:09.750]our wedding hadn't even happened yet,
[00:37:11.430]so there was like wedding planning
[00:37:13.140]and then the baby happened
[00:37:16.290]and then I had these excellent other mothers to lean on
[00:37:19.710]through that entire pregnancy,
[00:37:21.630]which was unbelievable just to have this built in group
[00:37:26.430]where we were like doing consciousness raising groups
[00:37:31.110]on Zoom once a month for the last however many years
[00:37:35.100]it's been, we've been doing that.
[00:37:37.168]I mean, we all moved,
[00:37:38.700]most of us moved during this time.
[00:37:41.432]I mean it has been a journey to go through,
[00:37:44.700]but then throughout all of it is like every month,
[00:37:46.860]we're still meeting on Zoom
[00:37:48.030]and talking about what we were going through
[00:37:50.850]and sometimes it was in the car and sometimes it was like,
[00:37:53.169]with the children
[00:37:54.840]and yeah, just for me,
[00:37:57.270]like becoming a mother with these other mothers
[00:37:59.730]has been unbelievably amazing
[00:38:02.792]and I don't think that we would've talked about all of that
[00:38:05.880]had it not been, you know,
[00:38:07.110]a female group.
[00:38:09.073]So yeah. Yeah, it's pretty exciting.
[00:38:15.690]I wanna say it's been such a joy
[00:38:19.680]the honesty that I can,
[00:38:22.433]that I can have with these ladies.
[00:38:24.900]And also they're teaching me quite a lot about motherhood
[00:38:31.569]things that your mom doesn't wanna say to you
[00:38:35.490]because you're the child.
[00:38:38.700]So I really, really like getting to know them
[00:38:43.110]and seeing them as mothers
[00:38:45.870]and understanding that as a non-mother.
[00:38:52.350]But it's been a joy to learn about these women
[00:38:55.952]so I feel grateful and it's such a great space
[00:38:58.740]to feel safe and I can honestly be myself with these ladies.
[00:39:05.640]And I'll just add that
[00:39:09.870]there were so many areas where we could relate
[00:39:13.530]to each other even though we come from very different
[00:39:16.560]cultures, and different geographies.
[00:39:20.970]We talked a lot about like coming,
[00:39:23.910]there was a lot of solidarity,
[00:39:25.440]like a lot of solidarity in understanding
[00:39:29.056]the microaggressions that we experience sometimes,
[00:39:33.330]things that we've experienced in our past
[00:39:35.760]that we can relate to with each other,
[00:39:39.120]our access to upper mobility as artists
[00:39:43.230]and also professionals in different areas.
[00:39:47.370]Working with youth was a big connection that we've had.
[00:39:53.580]I know I'm missing other things, but there was,
[00:39:58.980]there was such an like safe space for us to really connect
[00:40:03.060]and understand each other in ways that,
[00:40:07.470]I think we're very special because
[00:40:10.020]I was the lucky one.
[00:40:11.670]I knew everybody already,
[00:40:14.340]but I just kind of got to sit back
[00:40:15.960]and like see everybody get familiar with each other
[00:40:19.770]and I knew the magic in each person
[00:40:23.160]that it was even elevated so much more
[00:40:25.410]when that space opened and that more conversations happened
[00:40:28.890]we got to learn about each other
[00:40:30.840]and you know, I could relate to maybe
[00:40:34.770]some of the people that came into the conversation
[00:40:37.230]because I may have known them,
[00:40:39.120]but otherwise everybody else was like fresh eyes
[00:40:42.630]and fresh ears on the stories.
[00:40:45.150]So it was really, I think it was really great in that way.
[00:40:48.000]Again, like consciousness raising
[00:40:50.310]is a really pertinent I think term for what happened a lot.
[00:40:57.877]Think we'll wrap up there
[00:41:00.150]because we'd like you all to be able to go back down
[00:41:02.060]to the space where the artists will be
[00:41:04.613]and if you have more questions you can ask them.
[00:41:06.660]So I'd like to thank all of you for being here today.
[00:41:09.180]All of our artists,
[00:41:12.117]it's a big day for us to have the show open so,
[00:41:15.600]thank you all.
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