The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) partnered with the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) to present a collaborative panel event on May 17 titled, “Identity in our Fashion”. The panel featured four NACF Mentor Artist Fellows – TahNibaa Naataanii, Cara Romero, Lisa Telford, Delina White – who discussed how their cultural identity and their art intersect, and in what way they incorporate their Native identity into their chosen traditional or contemporary visual art form.
The panelists engaged the audience in a discussion about wearable art, fashion, and photography inspired by their own Native cultures, with the hope of changing popular misconceptions of Native people. All four artists push the boundaries of creative expression to break the stereotypes of Native people living in the past. Each panelist described how their work blends traditional and cultural knowledge with contemporary Native concepts.
I will never forget this night and opportunity to present at the Minneapolis Institute of Art alongside such powerful artists at such a prestigious institution.
― Cara Romero (Chemehuevi), 2017 Mentor Artist Fellow
Nearly two hundred audience members from the Minneapolis community attended including NACF mentor fellows and apprentices, alumni NACF fellows, plus NACF staff and board members. The audience engaged in a lively question and answer session with the panelists, and enjoyed a reception that followed.
NACF gives special thanks to the Minneapolis Institute of Art for their partnership and generous support of this event.
Photographs courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
TahNibaa Naataanii, Diné (Navajo) is a 2017 NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship recipient. An award-winning artist, Naataanii draws upon her families’ weaving traditions, songs, and stories to create exceptional contemporary textiles and wearable art.
Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) is a visual storyteller whose dynamic photographs challenge preconceived notions of Native art, culture, and peoples. In 2017, Romero received a NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship to further explore native representation, knowledge, and identity through photography.
Lisa Telford (Git’ans Git’anee Haida), a 2018 NACF Mentor Artist Fellow, is a weaver who creates exclusive garments, shoes, and other objects using Northwest Coast–style weaving techniques. Her work serves as a commentary on Native identity, stereotypes, and fashion.
Delina White (Ojibwe) is devoted to Anishinaabe Inendamowin (thought/ways of thinking) and keeps her Ojibwe woodland designs and history alive through her vibrant women’s wear. She is a 2017 NACF Mentor Artist Fellow.
Moderators: Jill Ahlberg Yohe, associate curator of Native American Art, and Dakota Hoska (Oglala Lakota), research assistant in Native American Art at Mia.