Curated by Katherine Gressel and RedMoon Arts, Inc., Land Markings brings together four New York-based artists of Indigenous heritage: Jeremy Dennis, Dennis RedMoon Darkeem, Ella Mahoney & Natasha Smoke Santiago, who have created works commenting on the past, present, and future of land use in the areas surrounding OSH.
Their work explores such topics as the acknowledgment and preservation of local Indigenous cultural sites in Brooklyn and New York State; under-recognized histories of local trade and land transfer; and land use issues facing contemporary Indigenous and other BIPOC communities.
A central theme in all the work is the importance of recognizing the continued presence and influence of Indigenous communities in the New York area, and the seizure of colonized land from its original inhabitants. Yet the work also suggests the limitations of mere acknowledgment, in some cases proposing or supporting models of indigenous sovereignty and sustainability that defy a singular narrative or type of mark-making. Many of the works on view combine traditional craft with contemporary art practices while rejecting cultural assimilation and asserting the importance of craft, performance, and storytelling in maintaining ties to land and community and as a form of activism.
Much of the art is site-specific and created for this exhibition, including Jeremy Dennis’s photos and map of culturally significant Native American sites in Brooklyn; Dennis RedMoon Darkeem’s interactive gumball machine featuring trade items found on OSH land in the 1600s; Natasha Smoke Santiago’s ceramic tile made in the Iroquois pottery tradition documenting local trade history; and Ella Mahoney’s outdoor banners that draw from her Aquinnah Wampanoag background to imagine a decolonized future for the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Land Markings precedes the upcoming redesign of the Old Stone House’s permanent exhibit to include its Lenape history. Today, despite the displacement of its original Lenape residents, New York City still has one of the largest intertribal indigenous communities in the country Land Markings is the first in a series of exhibits and programs at OSH that will provide opportunities for contemporary Indigenous artists to connect a greater awareness of the past to critical conversations about Brooklyn’s future, including fair and sustainable uses of our natural and built environment.
The exhibition will be on view Fri – Sun from Noon – 3 pm until October 11.
Please note that the Great Room is on the second floor and unfortunately is not wheelchair accessible.
Image: Dennis RedMoon Darkeem.