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Keli Mashburn (Osage)

May 11-May 19, 2017
Opening Reception May 11, 6:30pm

Curators Mary Bordeaux and Nancy Marie Mithlo present the exhibit Wah.shka (May 11-May 19, 2017), on the occasion of the 57th La Biennale di Venezia. Multi-media artist/activist Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee) will exhibit her politically-charged sculptures addressing Indigenous resilience and survivance in concert with Osage photographer Keli Mashburn and Ojibwe filmmaker Marcella Ernest. Our project reflects twenty years of experience working in Venice, including the critically received exhibit Ga ni tha featured at the Venice Biennale in May of 2015. The exhibit will take place on the Island of Certosa, a hub for artistic activity.

Wah.shka is an Osage tribal word that references a people’s ability to “do your best.” As a way of life wah.shka means being humble, looking forward, and having the confidence to know that that is all one can do; that's all our ancestors did to get us to this point. Artists Ernest, Goshorn and Mashburn enhancement this statement with their observations on the intersection of Native women and the environment. As Goshorn states, "Traditionally, Native people have revered and honored the life giving and nurturing qualities of women, personified in our relationship to our original mother, the Earth. May this work symbolize a movement to return to these values, to recognize the preciousness of motherhood and the priceless value of every single woman."


The Wah.shka exhibit is made possible by the generous support from the Autry Museum, Occidental College, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and The Osage Nation Foundation.