Indigenous Artists Meld in Live Three-Day Mural Project
Santa Fe, NM | Mar 21, 2012 –
Connecting cultures across continents, Aboriginal international installation graffiti artist Reko Rennie and artist Frank Buffalo Hyde (Nez Perce/Onondaga) will create a 16-foot by 10-foot mural starting March 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA).
The two indigenous artists began working together at the Kluge Rhue Aboriginal Arts Museum at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville last year where they learned how similar Aboriginal and Native American cultures are. Although each artist has distinct backgrounds and approaches, they faced similar stereotypes and expectations of what indigenous art should look like.
A Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi born in Melbourne, Australia, Rennie explores what it means to be an urban Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society. Rennie received no formal artistic training but as a teenager discovered graffiti, which would become an all-consuming passion.
Drawing inspiration from his Aboriginal heritage, Rennie recreates cultural images in a contemporary context, using spray paint, stencil, neon, sculpture, photography and moving image. His work often features geometric iconography representing his connection to the Kamilaroi people.
Hyde, an IAIA graduate who has been exhibiting for more than 15 years in galleries in Chicago, Santa Fe, San Francisco and New York, has been pushing the boundaries of what some perceive Native art should resemble, defining himself as a person living what he calls the “fragmented contemporary life” of a Native U.S. citizen.
Hyde, who has invited IAIA student photographers, videographers and painters to aid in the mural project and face similar struggles when creating contemporary Native art, hopes they will learn from professionals like Rennie.
The mural project will begin at 2 p.m. Friday and end at 4 p.m. Sunday at MoCNA on 108 Cathedral Place across from the St. Francis Cathedral. The project is supported by a generous donation from IAIA alumnus Terry Snowball and Machel Monenerkit in honor of IAIA faculty emeritus Chuck Dailey.