Not Your Vacation Home Series, Collage, 2020

At the onset of my senior year at Bowdoin College during the fall of 2020, I found myself navigating a remote landscape due to the pandemic. This compelled me to explore unconventional materials, shifting away from the comfort of my campus space dedicated to my love for painting. Enrolled in the course "Narrative Structures," I felt a deep calling to weave my Indigenous heritage into my artistic expression. The passing of my nana, a Wampanoag woman, in April 2020, weighed heavily on me, fostering a sense of responsibility to ensure our stories endure.

This emotional catalyst birthed the "Not Your Vacation Home" series, delving into themes of land, lineage, and legacy. By collaging images of ancestors and tribal members from the 1800s to the present with postcard depictions of Martha's Vineyard as an idealized vacation destination, the series explores the history of erasure and resurrects narratives lost over time. A central piece features my nana, arm stretched across her heart, collaged into a tree connecting her, my parents, and siblings. This symbolizes unity with the land and family—a continuum of shared stories, with Noepe as our sacred home.

The series challenges misconceptions about Wampanoag people, countering narratives of extinction. It serves as a poignant reminder of the rich history overlooked or deliberately ignored. Addressing the harsh realities of colonialism and erasure, each postcard-sized piece compels acknowledgment of our past, present, and future. The art prompts reflection on the land's original stewards and the pressing contemporary issues of land ownership and cultural preservation.


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