Essay by Jaque Fragua: The beginning of another season, another cycle, another space in time…
There have been quite a number of changes in our world over the last two years, let alone the last decade. I have been an artist even longer. I have observed, listened, studied, and then sometimes created. It has always been my process. I am hard-wired this way. Rarely do I create, in comparison to my critical thinking. Yet, I have mustered the courage to create and be creative, with all odds against me and my expression and identity. I do think that at the core of my identity is an antithesis to this World. A world built up around me and my ancestors, a world that was invented to enslave those who opposed it, and it just so happened my people, indigenous people, Native American, Pueblo people, stood in the way of this world.
In an increasingly diverse society, it’s important to recognize different groups, communities, and cultures properly. This can be hard when language is constantly changing — but it changes because we’re often finding better, more accurate ways to represent ourselves. One of the more recent changes has been the rise of the term BIPOC when referring to historically marginalized races and ethnicities.
Orlane Mwanayera is an architect and environmental activist based in Kigali, Rwanda. Mwanayera is an Artist Fellow for the Soul of Nations Foundation’s Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project.
Flying Roots and Bignhi are an artist-collaborative duo of audiovisual-performative artists from Kigali, Rwanda. Together, they specialize in spoken word, video installation, and sound. Both Bignhi (also known as Cheryl Isheja) and FlyingRoots (also known as Natacha Muziramakenga) are participants in the Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Rwanda.
Understanding how Indigenous/Native American contemporary arts express Indigeneity and resistance through art
Begay’s film, entitled Lightning Boy, combines a culturally based story-line with contemporary special effects, featuring the award-winning poet and writer Vivian Mary Carroll. Lightning Boy received the 2019 TCJ Student Best Film Award and will be present at the Pocahontas Reframed “Storytellers” Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia in 2020.
Bidzííl considers himself to be a drone environmental activist and documented the No Dakota Access Pipeline movement at the Oceti Sakowin Camp on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota in 2016.
America is obsessed with Dead Indians and, as a result, the Indigenous voice is rendered as irrelevant noise of a remote past.