Our Side Exhibition Catalog
Elisa Harkins, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Marianne Nicolson, And Tanis Maria S'eiltin
by Missoula Art Museum
Publisher: Missoula Art Museum
MAM invited artist and curator Wendy Red Star to assemble an exhibition meditating on the groundbreaking 1985 exhibition, Women of Sweetgrass, Cedar and Sage, curated by Harmony Hammond and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. Red Star's response is Our Side, a reexamination of land, body, language, and history from the perspective of four contemporary indigenous American and First Nations artists: Elisa Harkins (Muscogee/Creek), Tanya Lukin Linklater (Alutiiq/Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions), Marianne Nicolson (Scottish and Dzawada̱’enux̱w First Nations), and Tanis S'eiltin (Tlingit).
The exhibition upholds MAM's commitment to the expression of Native women's voices in contemporary art and continues Red Star's dedication to redefine archival and historical norms through the lens of new historical, social, and cultural dynamics, both within and outside of contemporary indigenous realities.
In her curatorial statement, Red Star writes: "To be Bíiluuke'—Our Side'—implies that one has the same ancestry, language, spiritual beliefs, territory, and social structure. From this term, which my ancestors used to define themselves as a separate unique people, this exhibition, Our Side, invites four contemporary artists: Elisa Harkins, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Marianne Nicolson, and Tanis S'eiltin to creatively investigate identity, language, and territory, from their individual perspectives. Sharing a common understanding of the significance of origin stories as a temporal and historical space where community is shaped, each artist works from a broad range of media including performance, sculpture, painting, sound, social engagement, and video, and to maintain common ties around indigenous narratives, engagement with community, feminism, activism, and the importance of specificity."