Native Storytelling Explores Identity in “Looking For Tiger Lily”

As part of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s (PICA’s) Time Based Art Festival in September, Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi (Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) performed the solo show Looking for Tiger Lily. The performance incorporates, song, dance, monologue, and movie/television shorts to describe Hudson’s early influences and exploration of identity. Beginning with an obsession with the 1960’s Peter Pan movie, Hudson addresses how contemporary mainstream interpretations of Native American people led to the manifestation of internationally renowned drag clown Carla Rossi and Hudson’s current body of work.

Hudson’s interpretation of the relationship between Indigenous cultural clowns, drag clowning, and contemporary Indigenous storytelling lends a rare perspective to drag art, Indigenous art, and performance. Using whiteface to subvert white supremacy, Hudson explores the layers of race, sex, and gender underlying both white mainstream and indigenous cultural values. Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi serves a roller-coaster performance, swinging from one side of the emotional spectrum to the other with verve and tenacity. The performance is not only entertaining but intelligent and ethereal.

Hudson is a 2018 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellow and has received several other awards, including multiple Regional Arts & Culture Council awards, the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest Queer Hero award, the Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, the Caldera Arts Center Artist in Residence award, and USArtists International Travel Grant, among others. Hudson attended the Pacific Northwest College of Art and has performed in the US, Canada, and Australia.

With generous support from a 2018 Creative Heights Award from the Oregon Community Foundation, Looking for Tiger Lily is being adapted into a professionally produced multi-actor theatrical play. The play will make its world premiere in Portland, Oregon, during Artists Repertory Theatre’s 2019/2020 season in May 2020.