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The sky loves to hear me sing: Woodland Art in Transmotion

The sky loves to hear me sing: Woodland Art in Transmotion
September 12 – October 29, 2024
Opening Reception:
Thursday, September 19, 2024
, 4:30–7:00 PM

This exhibition highlights the dynamic, migratory, and sovereign nature of Woodland Native art across time. Drawing on Anishinaabe literary theorist Gerald Vizenor's concept of "transmotion," or the sovereign assertion of movement through time, place, and visionary narrative, the exhibition explores the capacity of images, styles, belongings, and artistic careers to contradict essentialized notions of “place” and identity. In the work of artists such as Norval Morrisseau (1932-2007, Ojibwe); Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe); Alan Michelson (Mohawk); and Native Art Department International, a collaborative partnership between Toronto-based artists Maria Hupfield (Anishinaabe, member of the Wasauksing First Nation) and Jason Lujan (Chiricahua Apache and Mexican), medium and form unmoor themselves from entrenched categories and roam broad sites of aesthetic and historical inquiry. These artists explore and embody visual movement(s) throughout the international meeting places of the Eastern Woodlands, challenging border regimes and colonial prerogatives while asserting the right to artistic migration in its manifold manifestations. 

Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe, enrolled citizen of the White Earth Nation) is a scholar whose writings emphasize the diversity and contemporaneity of Native identities. His theoretical concepts, such as "transmotion" and "survivance" provide important touchstones for Native American and Indigenous studies and are foundational to discourse on contemporary Indigenous art. Vizenor is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where he directed the program in Native American studies. He has published more than 30 books of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, including Waiting for Wovoka: Envoys of Good Cheer and Liberty (2023), Native Provenance: The Betrayal of Cultural Creativity (2019), and Native Liberty: Natural Reason and Cultural Survivance (2009).