Visual artist Natalie Ball has undertaken the creative task of re-imaging the Native American past through a process of visual deconstruction and reconstruction. As a descendent of African slaves, English soldiers, and the great-great-granddaughter of Kientpaush, or Captain Jack, who led the Modoc resistance during the Modoc War of 1872, Ball’s heritage provides her with a unique lens to view the visual archives of Native America. She says of her work:
I examine internal and external discourses that shape Indian identity through contemporary installation art. I believe historical discourses of Native Americans have constructed a limited and inconsistent visual archive that currently misrepresents our past experiences and misinforms current expectations.
[. . .] my work is always in discussion with racial narratives critical to understanding of both the self and the nation and necessarily, our shared experiences and histories. Because my work is not limited textually it goes beyond the language of memory to allow for witnessing that does not diminish the past or the present. The past is not the past. .
Ball courageously joins the conversation of race and identity through her paintings, hand-made dolls, painted quilts, and installations. Within this work, she pushes back against the stereotypes of Native America and reshapes our visual images into a more provocative and thoughtful understanding of Native American life.
Quotations excerpted with permission from the website of Natalie Ball. For a complete statement and to view more images, please visit: www.nataliemball.com.