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Dii Sh nii / Ba’ja’ich Yahk yuhhkum

Dii Sh nii / Ba’ja’ich Yahk yuhhkum is an exhibition of photographic mixed-media objects and sound that address the redaction of Native American people and communities from American institutions and the consciousness of American citizens. 

The exhibition provides a glimpse into the complexity and challenge of sustaining Native American and community self-determination within a Westernized nation driven by perpetual economic growth and the desire to transform Indigenous land into economic and military infrastructure.

Throughout the gallery 10 artworks, each roughly 20”x30”, are arranged on the ground leaning against the gallery walls, connecting horizontal and vertical planes, humble floor and venerated wall. Each work is comprised of photographs of Yavapai-Apache Nation community members, mounted on particle board (often used for flooring substructure) and obscured with asphalt tar. The artist has  submerged the mounted photographs into a vat of tar and making vigorous and abstract marks on the photograph surface with the material.  Additionally, the objects in the gallery are all connected by a soundscape of re-mixed social dance song and community stories mediated by dictation software. Just as the material of paved roads obscures community bodies, the mediated sound obscures their voices. 

The combination of object and sound in the gallery poses a serious question: With the redaction of Native American communities, who is speaking on behalf of Native American communities, and who is listening?

 

The result is an array of objects interconnected by community, culture and material; a collisions of sound and saturated colors of land and flesh obscured bluntly with flat, deep black, mark making. Collectively the work communicates the literal and metaphoric layers of American history, economic expansion and development that have intersected and often buried, obscured and silenced the voices, lives, experiences, cultures of Native communities and people.

Main song is a Patsy Cassadore who is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe located in San Carlos, Az. The title of the song is people know me wherever I go. Alana Leigh Lewis is the young lady who is signing in the above audio. This re-mix is done by Walter Kitundu. Kitundu creates kinetic sculptures and sonic installations, develops public works, builds (and performs on) extraordinary musical instrumentsI would like to thank him for helping me re-mix this song for my Thesis.  Thank you Walter for your time and support. I am very honored to have worked with you and look forward in working with you again with future projects