What Does Native Look Like? 




Most of my life I have walked unapologetically in my Black and Indigenous identity.  My family is BLACK. My schools growing up in Harlem were BLACK and the communities I’ve always found myself in were BLACK. I spent every summer of my life at my Wampanoag great grandmothers house on Martha’s Vineyard. My mother immersed me into my Wampanoag heritage and my Black identity was always prevalent. Being both Black and Indigenous I never really understood my identities to be mutually exclusive and exist together, in some spaces I felt Black and in others I felt Wampanoag but struggled with this because although I grew up knowing my heritage, my physical traits labeled me into one racial category. Society uses our physical attributes as indicators of our racial and cultural identities and I knew I was black and other people knew I was Black, but I knew I was Indigenous and other people never believed me. I would get stares, looks, and comments like you don’t look native...

What does Native Look Like? is an artistic series that explores the complexities of how I have grown and continue to grow into navigating my racial and cultural identities as a Black and Wampanoag woman. The overexposure in photographs that depict ancestry, Chappaquiddick Island, and my Wampanoag great-grandmother along with self-portraits. The use of paint in a vibrant shade of red relates to the violent history of bloodshed across identities. This series uses painting and photographs to draw parallels between land, lineage, and language.  Blood Quantum, Nuh-tus-a-wese Shining Star, and Writings on the Wall address the hypervisibility, visibility, and invisibility of my identities as they juxtapose how I’ve come to understand my identity and how society projects itself onto my identity. As a series each piece explores the deeply rooted connection between the rich culture, I was immersed in growing up and its relation to the violent history of my ancestry to reconstruct a narrative of beauty, resilience, and survival.





Blood Quantum, 2021, Oil on Canvas, 36x48


© 2021 Destiny Arianna Studio







© 2021 Destiny Arianna Studio




Writings on the Wall, 2021,
Tempura/Acrylic/ Oil on Wood, 48x8


© 2021 Destiny Arianna Studio


 







“Nuh-Tus-A-Wese Shining Star”
( I am called shining star), 2021, 
Digital Photographs 


My Ancestry: “Nuh-Tus-A-Wese Shining Star” ( I am called shining star),
2021, Digital Photographs


© 2021 Destiny Arianna Studio






Chappaquiddick:“Nuh-Tus-A-Wese Shining Star” ( I am called shining star),
2021, Digital Photographs


© 2021 Destiny Arianna Studio




My Nana: “Nuh-Tus-A-Wese Shining Star” ( I am called shining star),
2021, Digital Photographs


© 2021 Destiny Arianna Studio






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