Aesthetics of Doing: Decolonizing

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A conversation exploring Indigenous rights and traditions through socially engaged art, with Hadrien Coumans, Polly Nordstrand, and Bradley Pecore, moderated by Jolene Rickard.

Although the process of colonization, which has affected nearly the entire globe in one way or another, cannot be reversed, the oppression that has generally attended it can be addressed. The assertion of rights to land and self-determination are crucial, as is the ongoing resurgence of Indigenous traditions. What are artists doing to address the matrix of social, legal, and cultural concerns affecting Indigenous nations? What does decolonization look like?

Mohonk+Preserve+50th+Anniversary+Gala+3orC2j-mwQvlHadrien Coumans is a founding co-director of Lenape Center, whose mission is continuing the Lenape cultural presence in Lenapehoking. 
He brings to the organization a life-long commitment to Lenape and Native American culture, from intimately studying the Red Road and ceremonial traditions under the late Lakota Chief Phil CrazyBull for twelve years, to developing an internationally and nationally exhibited textile line designed by Lenape artist Joe Baker, beginning at the Museum of Art and Design.

Hadrien has been a spokesperson for Lenape Center at the U.N. affiliated Caux Forum for Human Security in 2010 and 2011. 
Hadrien’s collaborative Lenape Center work has been written about in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, The Epoch Times, and Vogue.
He co-authored a chapter for Constellation (Melissa McGill, Princeton Architectural Press, 2015). Hadrien attended the University of New Mexico and is certified in Mediating Violent Conflict and Land, Property and Conflict from the United States Institute of Peace in Washington D.C. He is an adopted member of the WhiteTurkey/Fugate Lenape family of the Delaware Tribe of Indians.

Polly Nordstrand (Hopi) is a doctoral student in the PhD program in the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University with focus on indigenous art history and comparative modernities. Her research on the San Ildefonso artist Maria Martinez, seeks to widen the understanding of Indigenous art and strategies for how Indigenous people address challenges of modernity through artistic expression, ultimately to create a space for indigenous epistemology in art history. She has broad interests in the field including performance art, contemporary art, and museums as sites of knowledge exchange in contemporary society. Polly was formerly the associate curator of Native art for the Denver Art Museum. And she has worked in curatorial capacities for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the National Park Service. Her exhibitions include Fritz Scholder: New Indian Images, Maria: American Icon and Fonseca’s Coyote: Living with the Trickster. She has taught art history and museum studies at the University of Colorado, Denver and the University of Denver. Recognized as a leader in her field, Polly is currently a Predissertation Ford Foundation Fellow, which was awarded in support of her studies and research on Native American art and Indigenous studies. Polly earned a M.A. in Exhibition Planning and Design and Certificate of Museum Studies at Cal State Fullerton, and a B.A. in Studio Art from Stanford University.

Image Bradley Pecore is an emerging curator and visual historian examining Native American and Indigenous aesthetics. He specializes in the History of Native American Art, Museum Studies, American Art, and Gender Studies. Since 2006, Pecore has been involved in over 60 exhibitions as curator, researcher, educator, writer, collections specialist, and artist liaison. He was the guest curator for Drift Art Project (2007) at Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY, and in 2012, he contributed to Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism. He has lectured on Native American and Indigenous Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Hey Center (NMAI-GGHC), Smithsonian Institution, New York, NY, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to multiple awards and recognitions, he is a recipient of the Newberry Library Graduate Student Fellowship (2012). Pecore recently completed a Curatorial Residency at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI-GGHC) Smithsonian Institution, New York, NY. He received his BA in Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pecore has special interests in globalization and Indigeneity, performance, feminist and queer theories, decolonization, and comparative modernities. His dissertation considers Indigenous philosophical and historical ideas of gendered subjectivities and focuses in particular on Queer Indigenous and Two Spirit visualities.

Image 1 Jolene Rickard, Ph.D., is a visual historian, artist and curator interested in the issues of Indigeneity within a global context. Recent projects; Advisor “Sakahàn: 1st International Quinquennial of New Indigenous Art”, National Gallery of Canada, 2013, Ford Foundation Research Grant, 2008-11, Te Tihi Scholar/Artist Gathering (New Zealand) 2010 and co-curator for the inaugural exhibition for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.) 2004. Essays include “Visualizing Sovereignty in the Time of Biometric Sensors,” in The South Atlantic Quarterly: Sovereignty, Indigeneity, and the Law, 110:2, Spring 2011, “Skin Seven Spans Thick,” in Hide: Skin as Material and Metaphor, NMAI: DC, 2010, “Absorbing or Obscuring the Absence of a Critical Space in the Americas for Indigeneity: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian,” in RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, No. 52, Autumn, 2007, and Rebecca Belmore: Fountain by Jolene Rickard and Jessica Bradley, Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery and Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada, 2005.

She is from the Tuscarora Nation (Haudenosaunee), the Director of the American Indian Program and Associate Professor in the History of Art and Art Departments at Cornell University.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
nyculture_logo_cmyk Aesthetics of Doing is a series of panel discussions that bring together artists, scholars, administrators and other members of the art community for discussions that critically address socially engaged art as it is practiced and defined.

2016 ABOG Fellow Rulan Tangen in “Re-indigenizing Austin,” for LUPE Artes in Austin, TX. Photo: Yoeme Homari

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DecolonizationHistoryIndigenous Rights
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