The Ephemerals - Four Amigos - Land Based Experience Project
Project Overview: Coming to the Santa Fe territory as visitors, and being highly aware of the consequences of cultural tourism especially as it is tied to socially engaged art practices, we explored how it is that one comes to enter and to know a place and its local culture based from outside perspectives and experiences. To do so, we engaged layers of diverse knowledges, both through books and theory, and more importantly, gathered knowledge that was generated from land-based and socially generated experiences. Through our access to the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) collection, as well as other local institutional collections, we further investigated the complexities of the representation of Indigenous identities. What was physically created—a zine, a series of clothing garments, and a small installation—was a manifestation of experiences, revealing layers of knowledge, politics, land, and cultural congruence. What was given back was a community feast to acknowledge the tobacco that was passed, honour the knowledge that was shared in an artist panel, the zine and a radio show to respect that which was reciprocal.
Personal Statement: As MoCNA has an extensive collection of First Nations and Native American material culture, and in consideration the geographical and cultural position of Santa Fe, we explored the institution’s collection and the collections of other institutions to investigate the conventions and construction of identity in fashion. Noticing a materialization of appropriated Indigenous-inspired fashion trends in popular culture, we feel that there is a need to consider the context and implication of cultural inspired apparel and what clothing signifies. This is of particular importance when we consider objects that carry a rich complex Aboriginal art history that are not only still being practiced today but also appropriated into a larger cultural commodity and consumed in cultural tourism. We were inspired not only by the people we connected with and the food we ate, but also, the place-based connection to the land and the territory we have been honoured to be invited on.
Zine: The zine (attached here) displays a log/ journal of experiences that chronicles the artistic process and provides context about the project. The dress, worn in subtle sartorial interventions throughout events at MoCNA and Indian Market, represents the layers of knowledge, cultural innovation, and contact zones based on our gathered understanding and encounters. The localized dress was designed and constructed in Santa Fe, with each layer being naturally dyed with local plants picked from advised recommendations and sought-after research.
Bio: The Ephemerals (Jaimie Isaac, Niki Little, Jenny Western), with collaborator Kerri-Lynn Reeves, (known collectively as the Four Amigos) are Canadian based artists and cultural labourers. Through a social-lens focused on material culture, they engage with place, space, culture, and community through multi-layered - multi-disciplined context-specific projects.
August 10-24, 2014 Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Santa Fe, NM