Demian DinéYazhi', "in beauty it is restored," 2018.
Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit.
The Brink: Demian DinéYazhi´
In this exhibition, transdisciplinary artist Demian DinéYazhi´ presents new work that expands upon their ongoing engagement with the entangled relationships between land, Native cultures, and colonial, capitalist economic and political systems. A group of analog slide projecto
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In this exhibition, DinéYazhi´ (born 1983) expands upon their ongoing engagement with the entangled relationships between the land, Native cultures, and colonial, capitalist economic and political systems. A group of analog slide projectors form the core of the installation, casting images and text throughout the space to create a multi-layered narrative of DinéYazhi´’s home place on Diné Bikéyah (Navajo Nation) in Arizona and New Mexico, and its proximity to uranium mining industries and the popular US highway Route 66. Stories of exploitation—of people and of natural resources—as well as survival weave together alongside an overarching concern with the legislation of borders imposed by the reservation system, and the resulting effects on the ways bodies move and form relations.
DinéYazhi´, born to the clans Naasht'ézhí Tábaahá (Zuni Water's Edge) and Tódích'íí'nii (Bitter Water) of the Diné, works across media and form, including poetry and photography, to give voice to and envision a contemporary Indigeneity that challenges Western archetypes and notions of authenticity. Rooted in a reverence for traditional Diné culture and social formations, while also informed by the popular culture of their childhood, DinéYazhi´’s work creates a bridge between the past and the present to imagine a sovereign future freed from the structures of white heteronormative patriarchy. DinéYazhi´ received a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2014. They live in Portland, OR.
As part of the Brink Award, DinéYazhi´ also received a cash prize of $12,500 and a work of their art will be acquired for the museum’s permanent collection. A publication released this spring will expand upon the content in the exhibition and include DinéYazhi´’s poetry in print and audio forms.
This iteration of the Brink Award is the culmination of a five-cycle biennial prize awarded to emerging artists, ages thirty-five and under, who are working in the Cascadia region of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
"The Brink: Demian DinéYazhi´" is made possible by the generous support of Henry patrons John and Shari Behnke, founders of The Brink Award. The exhibition is organized by Associate Curator Nina Bozicnik.