The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation is pleased to announce Natalie Ball (Black, Modoc and Klamath Tribes) as the recipient of the Oregon Native Artist Fellowship (ONAF). Ball’s work addresses racial narratives critical to the understanding of both the self and the nation and our shared experiences and histories. Her multilayered assemblages incorporate personal objects that are full of stories and inner lives. Ball redeploys and recontextualizes iconography typically associated with Native American cultures to propose different narratives of Indigenous life in the United States.
The ONAF award was designed for Native visual artists to produce work over the course of one year to address issues impacting their community. In the current national and international political climate, there are calls from all corners for more direct action to address the serious issues that affect the lives of Native peoples in their respective Nations. Through the greater mobilization of Native artistic voices in Oregon, the ONAF seeks to contribute to deliberation and problem solving around these challenges.
The goal is for my art to lend itself as new texts, with new histories, and new manifestations, to add to the discussion of complex racial narratives that are critical to further realizing the self, the nation, and necessarily, our shared experiences and histories.
—Natalie Ball (Black, Modoc and Klamath Tribes)
For her Oregon Native Artist Fellowship project, Ball will address the preservation of Klamath Lake, a body of water critical to her tribe’s, The Klamath Tribes, survival and where tensions run high with the area’s agricultural industry. Through her personal journey of connection to her homelands as a mother with her children, the project will build awareness of the endangered C’waam and Koptu (suckerfish) and the dying Klamath Lake invaded with toxic algae and manipulated water levels, which are historically the primary food sources for the Klamath people and whose imperilment points to a history of environmental racism and vexed relationships with settler communities. Ball will develop a body of work that includes Power Objects, large textiles, and a mobile mural series to be exhibited in the spring of 2022.