Art is a way of connecting people to cultures and diverse ways of thinking. My work uncovers the lack of visibility of Native Culture, lived experience and identity in America, due to both the absence of proper representation in the mainstream culture and the undermining of Native belief systems. The ways in which we traverse this land inspires me.

Joe Harjo

JH headshot

Joe Harjo (The Muscogee (Creek) Nation), 49, is a multidisciplinary artist from Oklahoma where he obtained a BFA from the University of Central Oklahoma before going on to earn a MFA from the University of Texas. Through is work he challenges what is considered “Native American” by mainstreams society, confronts the misrepresentation and appreciation of Native culture, and advocates for better representation and visibility of Native identities. Harjo is in currently in residency at Blue Star contemporary in Berlin, Germany and teaching in San Antonio Texas.

Harjo’s Dream is to examine and challenge historical and contemporary issues and policies that impact Native American communities, their land, their stories, and their right to build prosperous futures through photography, installations, and performance art. The project will take place in four parts: The Indian removal Act parts I, II, and III which will look at harmful historical policies, and how Native communities have persevered; Murdered & Missing wall drawing, with a performative aspect of creating the drawing. He plans to showcase the series in Texas throughout the next year.

“I connect to my community by challenging what is and is not societally considered “Native American”, especially in urban spaces, to dismantle the perceived spaces where, in the view of mainstream society, Indians are allowed and expected to exist as well as the visual notion of that an “Indian” should look like in those spaces.”

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