Kaaseiyi (2021)

(2021) woodwork canoe

 

This canoe is named Kaaseiyi, meaning voice of man. The canoe is named after Nahaan’s father Roger Alexander. Roger was Kaigani Haida, from double headed eagle, frog, beaver clan. From Hydaburg AK. Traditionally in native culture mostly men build canoes, and traditionally in western culture boats are given the gender of female. With Kaaseiyi, Nahaan intentionally separates this act of love and remembrance from western practise and expectations, and firmly sets this gift as a gift of not only memory but of tradition and cultural responsibility. A vessel for learning and growing family, through songs, protocol, and leadership.

 

I was asked by Nahaan if I could help build Kaaseiyi after the cedar strips had been formed and set into their place to make the dugout canoe shape. We began by prepping for delivery to the fiberglasser. After fiberglass had been applied both inside and out, we sanded it down to a smooth state. We landed at our first generous work space offering at the Museum of Museums (MoM) in Seattle. While at MoM, we cut the rough shapes for the in and out wales, and the bow and stern top pieces. We steam bent the in and out wales and attached them. Then it was time to move to our next generous work space offering provided by Vermillion Art Gallery also in Seattle. While at Vermillion, we steam bent the rails that sit on top of the in and out wales, steam bent and attached the risers that the seats rest on, and we cut and fitted four seats. At this point we began to clean, shape and refine the overall body. 

 

Each work session would start with sage, and at the end of the work day, songs would be sung to Kaaseiyi. Our last step was painting, starting with primer, sanding, primer, sanding, and probably a little more primer once the surface was as smooth as we thought we could get it. Then we started adding color, and delineating shapes. The shape that the black makes on the outside is referencing the belly of the killer whale. Many more coats of marine grade paint, a little wax, and we were ready to have a naming ceremony and launch. 

 

On a perfectly beautiful overcast rainy Sunday afternoon at Golden Gardens, we formally named the canoe Kaaseiyi. A representative from the Duwamish Tribe attended and gave us permission to launch, have a safe journey, and come back again soon. We loaded up seven deep, and pushed off into the water, watching as the small crowd of attendees sang us songs and danced on the beach. The sea lions and eagles were circling and watching us as we pulled our way around the buoy and back to the beach.
 
What a gift to help my best friend build this boat, we both built this with no prior experience in building a canoe. We could not have done this without the guidance of master canoe builders, Wayne Price, Beau Wagner, Dale Bekkela, Joe Martin, Al Charles, and Stormy Hamar from up the coast to Canada and AK. The reverence for the craft of building a vessel that holds human life in the water is a profound learning lesson. I’m thankful to have been given the chance to share in this truly amazing process. In the near future, we will decide upon native formline designs that will rest on the outside of Kaaseiyi.

NAMING CEREMONY

 

Stories (2020-present)

Stories from the Streets or Being Seen (working titles) (2020-present)

 

This is the seed project for what will become a much larger, interactive, citywide performance experience. To begin, I have been awarded funding from 4Culture to collect interviews from people living on the street experiencing homelessness. My aim is to find individuals who would like to talk with me about their experience living on the street. I have found myself gravitating to these folks for two reasons: 1) My mother lived on the street for a period of time after I began living on my own, and before she ultimately was committed to Wester State hospital; and 2) I can’t help but see a clear correlation between out of control rental prices and the rapid increase in the homeless population in the northwest.

 

 

Through this funding I will compensate the individuals interviewed. I want to collect these interviews and geo tag the locations where the interviewees are living. In Seattle currently the people living on the street are routinely dislocated or swept from their established homes on the street, a practise that is both inhumane and, given that we are still in the grips of a worldwide pandemic, is all the more absurd an action to be taken against an already extremely vulnerable population. 
Once I have collected as many interviews as funding will allow for, I will create a website which houses all of these stories and cross references each one with a QR code that will be placed at the location of past residence for each individual I interview. This will create both a visual link to the inhabitants that occupied these street homes–prior to being displaced yet again–and determine a walking tour through Seattle that someone could follow to see these stories activated from one QR code to the next.
This first step will lay the groundwork for the larger piece. I will endeavor to fill in the path that is created from these stories with installation, both site specific and gallery. There will be sound that will accompany the viewer through this journey. There will be pre recorded performance that lives as a sort of ghost along this path. All this will come together to create a walking tour that can be entered at any point, at any time.

 

Wish you were here (2020)

(2020) Live stream performance. Art Martyrs Relief Society, Seattle WA.

 

Collaboration between myself and Dani Blackwell. Focusing in on the body, specifically the torso to show fleshy articulation until exhaustion, then the face to remember self, still thinking of flesh as Dani paints the face to look like a skeleton remembering the bones that are underneath providing the structure, then the self is released by throwing handfuls of flowers into the sky.

 

Body hands      Chest squish          Face paint

Foreign and Familiar (2019) film

(2019) video

 

Filmed for the Georgetown Super 8 Film Festival. Brad Curren and I came up with a loose story idea set in the defunct rail yards of Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Sourcing my dinosaur mask as a way to look into abstract representation in hopes of finding further meaning in the story of the dinosaur mask. A small world is born of forgotten things left to collect dust.

 

Bring Back The Salmon (2019)

(2019) Commissioned public art mural, Art in Parks, Seattle WA.

 

Working together, Nahaan and I designed a native formline salmon, as a rain-activated, ground stencil. Working with the Office of Arts and Culture Art in Parks, we settled on Alki Beach Park as our project site. We used RainWorks to stencil a temporary non toxic clear coating which is only visible during Seattle’s rainy weather. The stencil design we created was roughly 4’ long and 2’ tall. This installation is meant to bring attention to the loss of native salmon in this region as a result of overfishing, dam’s blocking salmon runs and pollution. We possess the power to change the fate of the northwest salmon.
 

Core 14 (2019)

(2019) Improvised performance. Zebulon. Los Angeles CA

 

Asked to perform in Chantael Duke’s improvised performance score, movement artists were paired with musicians in different duets and other combinations and given a set amount of time to improvise together. Photography by Rebecca Green.

 

SODO Express (2019-20) film

(2019-2020) short film

 

I’m always looking to find new paths and new collaborators. In my random surfing of Instagram one day I stumbled upon black and white photography of graffiti taken in Seattle that caught my eye. I looked at the bio on the profile and in short, it said that the photographer was in the beginning stages of making a film about family troubles and mental health. I felt compelled to reach out as I could see there were multiple areas of shared interest between the two of us. This is how Shaz and I first met. I soon realised that Shaz was married to a woman who was the sister of a guy I spent my childhood into teenage years dancing with at ballet school. 

 

It didn’t take long for Shaz and I to get deep into this film he was thinking about. Our conversations started to reshape the seed ideas for Shaz, and before too long he had asked me if I would like to star in his film. A new direction had emerged, of following a street artist trying to achieve fame and getting overtaken by the demons of social media addiction. This collaboration was really easy, Shaz and I both layed out what we wanted and needed. I let Shaz know when I was going to be putting art up in the streets, both my own or for friends, so he could come with and get the footage. We started talking about wanted locations and Shaz story boarded out the shots he wanted to collect. Step by step we checked off our shot list, and just a few months before covid exploded on the world we completed filming.

 

I’m only beginning to realise that Shaz has a long and full collaborative history with many very talented artists. This is where our film SODO Express gets really interesting and exciting. Since we finished filming Shaz has been updating me on all the artists involved in the post production, animation, editing, music, design, all folks who I have never met. The little bits I have seen of these artists’ works have been very encouraging to say the least. We are now months away from having a completed short film, SODO Express is being accepted to screen at festivals around the world, and we are laying the groundwork for (when Covid reveals what kind of world we will live in the future) gallery shows and film screenings in multiple countries.

 

All in all I have both made a new friend in Shaz and found a new collaborator who I know will be cooking up ideas for the both of us long into the future. 

 

SODO EXPRESS TRAILOR 

 

Abortion is Freedom (2019)

(2019) designed and hand painted poster

 

In anticapation of the LA Women’s March, Shout Your Abortion commissioned No Touching Ground and I to create this large two section poster to be displayed in Pershing Square nearby the start of the march. We designed and hand painted this work to fit perfectly into the media advert display case shown here. It is an unquestionable right that women have access to legal abortions and be able to choose for themselves what’s best for their body. Men and religious beliefs have no place imposing their expectations on any woman’s ability to make a choice.

 

photo NTG

Sweet Rotten Sweet (2019)

(2019) Illustrations, set design, publication

 

While working with Peggy Piachenza on her last performance/installation I created a hand drawn design that was featured in the book Peggy created to document the show. In addition to dancing, I also designed the set, fabricated and installed it as directed by Peggy. This involved building hanging video screen boxes, wall mounted video boxes, wall mounted microphones, printing and prepping and installing two wall to wall floor to ceiling posters one 11’x14’ the other 27’x14’, all the while performing in the month run of the performance component of the shows installation. 

 

We Love This (2019)

(2019) Commissioned choreography. North Star Ballet, Fairbanks AK

 

In collaboration with long time friend Oscar Gutierrez, commissioned by North Star Ballet, Oscar and I created a twenty minute duet about friends seeing each other after a long absence.

 

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