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Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project

The Soul of Nations Foundation is excited to further expand the art engagement facet of our mission through the Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project (GAP). Indigenous International is the umbrella program created through the Soul of Nations Foundation’s Indigenous Arts Expansion Initiative which is aimed to help connect Indigenous youth with boundary-pushing cultural and artistic experiences around the world. 
Traditional forms of Indigenous art and architecture have often been misrepresented in mainstream media and academia. The majority of Indigenous communities reside in rural areas where they oftentimes build and live in structures constructed with materials that have been obtained locally and are considered “green.” These structures are created through the use of architectural techniques that have been utilized for generations. Unfortunately, a myth exists that Indigenous vernacular architecture is substandard, temporary, and for the impoverished. Indigenous communities from the Americas and Africa are continuously striving for environmental stability. However, these communities are often met with natural and governmental challenges that have threatened the traditional value of vernacular and cultural practices for residential styles of architecture.
When thinking broadly of architecture, the masterpieces of the past inevitably come to mind; buildings constructed to withstand the passage of time, that have found an ally in age, cementing themselves in the history of humanity. 

Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project 

The overarching objectives of the Green Architecture Project include: (1) empowering marginalized youth and communities via creative and artistic expression, (2) furthering the understanding of Indigenous cultural heritage; (3) creating an environment conducive to effective collaboration; (4) engaging in dialogue to gain a clearer understanding on what freedom and environmental stability look like while examining current setbacks; (5) utilizing culture as a vehicle to expand discourse; (6) strengthening an artistic and academic network among the participants; (7) examining historic challenges through a contemporary frame; and (8) encouraging personal growth and social awareness on a global scale.
Themes: environmental stability and indigenous futurism
Nanibah Chacon is the selected artist mentor and artist-activist from the United States that will be traveling to Rwanda to invest time, energy, and skills into the participants. Nanibah is a Diné and Chicana painter, muralist, art educator, architect, and political activist. She has had art installed at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, the ISEA International Arts and Technology Symposium, Old Town Lansing, and in the “Que Chola” Exhibition at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, among other venues.
Green Architecture Project Team  gap@soulofnations.org

Although the Soul of Nations Foundation staff remains optimistic for the success of all international programming, the health and safety of our program participants and team are top priorities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be necessary to postpone projected activities for the Green Architecture Project. 

Current & Upcoming

The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Rwanda presents the opportunity for three young Indigenous female artists/architects from the Americas to connect with up to 10 young Rwandan female artists/architects living in Kigali through a two- week cultural exchange that has virtual and in-person components and an artist residency that will result in one collaborative online and physical exhibition to be open to the public for four months in Kigali.
Program status: in-progress 
The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Nigeria presents the opportunity for three young Native American women artists/architects from the Pueblo region of New Mexico to connect with ten young Nigerian women artists/architects living in Lagos. According to aesthetic and practical architectural standards of urban society, traditional housing structures of Native American nations, in the southwestern region of the United States of America, utilize similar construction techniques of Nigerians when analyzing wigwam or Pueblo-style of architectural manifestation alongside the Hausa-style and  Yoruba-style.
Apply now!
The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Bolivia presents the opportunity for three young Native American women artists/architects from the southwestern region of the United States to connect with up to 10 young Bolivian women artists/architects living in La Paz. 
Application release: March 1, 2021


Fragma 2 is a visual manifesto, through video and architectural design, which serves as the personification of the woman. Through her body, she re-appropriates public space and “the street,” all the while reclaiming and informing her physical entity. The street then becomes a dwelling that she chooses to occupy instead of just being a passenger. She inhabits this public terrain through strong visual statements. Thus, her physical and spiritual being to create a home where she can dream. She has access to all the components, which makes for a safe environment for her and her sisters. A home that will be, among other things, green because she cares for life.
Cheryl Isheja, Natacha Muziramakenga, and Orlane Mwanayera unveiled their most recent work from the Green Architecture Project in Rwanda entitled “Fragma 2.” The artists engaged in a guided discussion with the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda, Peter Vrooman, DG of the Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy, Robert Masozera, and MASS Design Group Associate and Project Design Mentor, Noella Nibakuze, to discuss environmental design, indigeneity, and the power of women in the arts.


Soul of Nations Foundation, Inc.

Email: info@soulofnations.org              

Phone: +1 202.643.2164

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