10 years later, "Despair of Humanity: Iraq War"

Despair of Humanity: Iraq War
Colored Pencil
13" x 18"

It's been ten years since the Iraq War began. It's terrible legacy will impact survivors for generations to come. I made this piece to show the faces of war. The media played a role in legitimizing the Iraq war, by telling lies and using distorted facts to champion the war and militarism in general. Media showed a sanitized version, not the actual affects of war - the human cost - so  I wanted to make an image that showed a reality of this war. I researched and found many images, mostly on independent and foreign news websites. The work is a product of my own outrage, fear and anger, since I, and many in my community, actively organized and demonstrated against the war, and the so-called war on terror.

Here is Arundhati Roy speaking on the war, reported by Democracy Now two days ago:

The use of depleted uranium has been devastating and genocidal. Democracy Now, one of best independent news sources, just did a piece on the epidemic of birth defects from the U.S. military's use of depleted uranium in Fallujah, Iraq, which is a weapon that is supposed to be banned from use. Reporter Dahr Jamail explains the situation - please be aware that the images in the video are disturbing, but what they depict is real, and has been paid for with U.S. tax dollars. People should know about this - since, even in some small way, we are all complicit.

I just read  and want to share an open letter written by a soldier who fought in the Iraq war to then-president Bush and then-vice president Cheney that has been recently published. Tomas Young's "Last Letter," is an extremely powerful statement. While, I do not support the U.S. attacking Afghanistan, or our current occupation there, this man's perspective is very important:


Freshly Fired Faces

A fresh batch of kiln fired faces ready for use! Made with X-tra White and Terracotta, fired to cone 04. There is a small bit of damage on the nose of the largest terracotta face. Projects are in the works...


Self-Decolonization: Winter of Our Internment

16" x 20"
Acrylic on canvas

Winter of Our Internment depicts the prison camp on Pike Island - located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers in what is today known as the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The families rounded up after the Dakota uprising of 1862 were forced to spend the winter within this open air prison. The loss of life from hunger and sickness was immense, and the survivors were exploited in every way. Any words I have for this atrocity seem incapable of describing the impacts for these ancestors and for all the generations to follow...

This work is a part of the "Self: Decolonization" series in which I reflect upon my true history, with the purpose of seeking justice for my ancestors, my elders, my generation, future generations and myself. I wanted to express this event in a significant way, so I chose to paint it as a Winter Count.

A Winter Count is a great buffalo hide that holds the history of the tribe. Each winter, the year's most significant, defining event is painted on the hide. After many years, the images wind in a spiral, filling the entire robe. The winter of 1863 deserves its own hide as a Winter Count, since for every year after, we have felt the effects of genocide and continued colonialism that can be traced to that winter.

Winter of Our Internment was auctioned to raise money for the Native Student Alliance powwow at Evergreen State College in May, 2012


face sketched in acrylic

This image is a initial sketch of the face appearing in a new 12"x16" acrylic painting entitled, Feel My Wrath. The work will be exhibited at the Washington State University Women's Resource Center annual exhibition "Reinterpreting Reality" in March of 2013 to commemorate National Women's History Month.


Cruel and Inhuman Shadowbox

Cruel and Inhuman Shadowbox, photographed by Richard Nicol

Fired Terracotta, Hemp, Copper, Wood

6.5" x 8.5" x 8"


In this piece, the human impact of oppression surrounding victims and survivors of violence are explored. Interpretations engage the viewer in a visual communication through stimulating emotions. This work demonstrates the horror of physical and psychological torture. It depicts a soul trapped in a stupor, unable to move from generations of trauma and abuse, on display and void of a connection to humanity, as if functioning in normality. I seek to provide a vessel through which these emotions can be collectively experienced, for acknowledging them is a first step in coping with them.

Exhibited at:

"Modern Day Warriors: Empowering the Young Voices of Native America"
Native American Rights Fund Juried Art Auction in November, 2007

"In the Spirit: Contemporary Northwest Native Arts" Exhibit at the Washington State History Museum, 2007

"Just Us: Engendering Justice," Office of Sexual Assault Prevention Exhibit
at the Evergreen State College, 2011

Published in:

Red Ink Magazine Vol. 13 No. 2, 2007