This solo exhibition runs concurrently with Contemporary Indigenous Printmaking, curated by Emily Arthur.
This solo exhibition by artist Emily Arthur examines connections between seemingly unrelated events, past and present, to make visible the land as a living matter that holds a story. This selection of work, which includes artist’s books, original prints and small, cast bronze objects, reflects contemporary legal struggles to protect wildlife from land development and modern-day arguments to delist threatened bird species. These struggles echo of nineteenth-century Manifest Destiny whereby the forced removal of Indigenous peoples was carried out through government policies. Arthur writes, “I see nature as an interdependent living force, rather than as the backdrop for human events. Displacement, loss and a concern for the environment are a result of my personal experience. The Cherokee and European descent of my family offers a multilayered perspective embodied in my work.”
Printmaking is typically used to create multiple images, and historically these multiples have been used for both subjugation and as agents for change. Arthur’s printmaking practice, which encompasses etching, woodcut, monoprint, and screenprint, examines the complex relationship of people and the land, a dialogue that is fraught and that continues across generations. She often works with historians, ornithologists, mycologists, Indigenous scholars, and poets who integrate narratives between art, history and natural science. Nancy Marie Mithlo, an Indigenous scholar of race and representation at University of California Los Angeles, writes that Arthur’s work “links land and people in an impulse that defines the hallmark of her artistic practice…Fragmented life histories are captured and lightly held for a moment, a firefly in Arthur’s cupped hands, for us to examine, to gaze upon, and to wonder anew at their very existence, given the impossible odds."*
Emily Arthur: Re-membering"/"Contemporary Indigenous Printmaking" are featured exhibits held in conjuction with the Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) Annual Meeting. The conference runs from March 16-19 and features many public exhibitions held across the city throughout March and April. Click here to view a full list of SGCI-associated events and exhibitions that are free and open to the public.
* From Visualizing Genocide: Indigenous Interventions in Art, Archives and Museums, by co-editors Yve Chavez, Ph.D. and Nancy Marie Mithlo, Ph.D. University of Arizona Press forthcoming, 2022.
Emily Arthur (left-right): Nowhere Left to Go (Water Birds), 2021; Only Tree, 2019; Carolina Parakeet, 2019.
Emily Arthur, Final Determinations: Cherokee by Blood, 2017-2021. Varied edition of 10 artist books with 10 unique lost wax casts of birds. Ash wood, screenprint, procion dye, silk organza, and bronze. Dimensions variable.
Emily Arthur, Remember, Owl, 2021. Lithograph, 18 x 20 in. Editioned by Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.