Community News

Major Native American artists announced for Settlement project in Plymouth

Ja:goh Marie Watt, a featured artist!

Reprinted from | Feb. 26, 2020

Settlement comes to Plymouth’s Central Park this summer, with a fully decolonized large-scale contemporary art and events program that features work by 29 acclaimed Native American artists who are recognized by the Smithsonian Institution and leading biennials.

The major contemporary art highlight of the Mayflower 400 commemorations, Settlement is a collaboration between US-based lead artist Cannupa Hanska Luger and Plymouth-based arts collective The Conscious Sisters CIC that allows artists complete control to explore the effects of the colonization of North America from a Native American perspective.

From July 6, 2020 to August 2, 2020 this multi-disciplinary arts program will see artists investigate and interpret their lives as the survivors of colonialism and encourage a greater understanding of the contemporary Native American experience.

A creative response to the impacts of colonization on a diverse number of tribal nations, Settlement will present a free daily program of workshops, performances, installations and talks throughout the month.

To open the Settlement project on-site at Pounds House in Plymouth, members of the Wampanoag nation will produce a day of programming. The Sunday prologue will focus on the sharing the story of the Wampanoag, also known as the People of the First Light.

Leading the program, artist Cannupa Hanska Luger will travel to Plymouth to work alongside the artists taking up residence in Central Park to support the creation of their art.

He will enable the local community to gain a deeper understanding of the complex living Indigenous cultures that have survived settler colonization and facilitate weekly public dialogues about Settlement’s ethos and durational performances as witness; holding space for the participating artists work as it is produced on-site.
Cannupa Hanska Luger said: “Settlement is designed as a creative response and reclaiming of public space to consider the impacts of colonization on a diverse number of tribal nations who continue to thrive despite its long-term effects.

“The project creates space and time to address questions and traumas through contemporary artworks and engagement, while also presenting a radical and complex living example of indigenous resilience and intersection.

“The Settlement project goes beyond conversations of decolonization and historical trauma by presenting vibrant and evolving contemporary art and culture, whilst actively practicing indigenisation.’

Settlement is supported by Arts Council England through National Lottery Project Grants and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport through the Cultural Development Fund.

The Conscious Sisters CIC is a socially-engaged arts company based in Plymouth, which produces unique art projects working with and for the community.

Fiona and Karen Evans, of The Conscious Sisters CIC, added: “Telling the story of the decimation of North American indigenous culture is central to this commemoration – Mayflower 400.

“Settlement has provided a unique opportunity to attempt to decolonize our practice and use our privilege to develop work that is authentic and timely.

“We wholeheartedly encourage others to work with indigenous artists to produce fresh work that takes risks. Never has the indigenous voice been more relevant.”

Settlement Program Highlights

Art and Sculpture

• Contemporary fine art photographer Jeremy Dennis will explore indigenous identity, cultural assimilation, and traditional practices in an installation inspired by his ancestry

• Yatika Starr Fields will create mural and installation pieces throughout the city of Plymouth to engage with the wider community

• Ian Kuali’I, a multi-disciplinary self-taught artist, will create an onsite mixed media land art prayer installation rooted in the Hawaiian practice of forgiveness

• Raven Halfmoon will reverse history to indigenise Plymouth through the creation of temporary figures and a canoe vessel displayed throughout the month

Film and Digital Art

• Award-winning filmmaker Sterlin Harjo will premiere his latest documentary, Love and Fury

• Santiago X will interpret the Indigenous perspective of the Mayflower’s arrival in a gallery of video, audio, websites and animated digital landmarks across Plymouth

• Razelle Benally, an alumni of the 2012 Sundance Film Institute Native Filmmakers Lab, will curate a selection of contemporary Indigenous films

Music and Performance

• Cherokee and Muscogee Creek artist and composer Elisa Lorraine Harkins will perform Wampum / a Cherokee, English and Muscogee Creek song set to electronic dance music

• Katherine Paul, a Swinomish and Iñupiat musician and visual artist, will perform a daily durational sound performance with unfolding narrative over a week

• Award-winning choreographer and Guggenheim Fellow Emily Johnson will present site-specific action and discussion piece Architecture of the Overflow

• White Mountain Apache artist and musician Laura Ortman will perform an interactive performance, previously featured in the Whitney Biennial

• Multi-disciplinary artist Rory Erler Wakemup will host a pop-up performance interpreting an Indigenous ‘art battle’ against Settler Zombies in order to decolonise Plymouth

• Weaver and fibre artist Eric-Paul Riege will present a site-specific performance and mixed media installation, a home for Her, created in collaboration with 13 female family members to represent exchanged stories, craft and love
Artisan Crafts

• Cross-disciplinary artist Marie Watt will lead a community sewing circle project exploring the theme of ‘mother’

• Haley Greenfeather English will construct a wigwam structure symbolising the reconciliation between settler and Native American families

Full list of Settlement artists

• Dakota Alcantara-Camacho
• Jade Begay
• Razelle Benally
• Raven Chacon
• Nanibah & Autumn Chacon
• Dayna Danger
• Jeremy Dennis
• Demian Dinéyazhi
• Kathy Elkwoman Whitman
• Nicholas Galanin
• Haley Greenfeather English
• Raven Halfmoon
• Stina Hamlin
• Sterlin Harjo
• Christine Howard Sandoval
• Emily Johnson
• Sonya Kelliher-Combs
• Ian Kuali’I
• Elisa Lorraine Harkins
• Dylan McLaughlin
• Laura Ortman
• Katherine Paul
• Eric-Paul Riege
• Yatika Starr Fields
• Rory Erler Wakemup
Marie Watt
• Tania Willard
• Santiago X