Geo Soctomah Neptune (Passamaquoddy; born Indian Township, ME, 1988; resides Princeton, ME) has been weaving baskets since the age of four, when they first began taking lessons from their grandmother, master basket maker Molly Neptune Parker. This mentorship, combined with their prodigious skill, helped Neptune quickly master the artform and develop their own personal style. When just eleven years old, Neptune began teaching with the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance. By age twenty, they had earned the title of master basket maker, making them the youngest person to date to receive that honor. Using ash and sweetgrass that they prepare themself, Neptune weaves vibrant narratives that combine Wabanaki teachings with their own perspectives.
In addition to being a skilled basket maker, Neptune is an activist, educator, model, drag performer, and public servant. In September 2020, they were elected to their local school board, becoming the first openly transgender elected official and the first two-spirit person to run for any office in Maine. They used this position to advocate for the increased inclusion of Passamaquoddy language and culture in public curriculums, until resigning in protest in 2022. Neptune has been featured in the Netflix series, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, as well as numerous prominent magazines, including in them (2020) and Vogue (2022). In 2021 Neptune was awarded the United States Artist fellowship for basketmaking. Their work can be found in collections such as the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Geo Neptune, Apikcilu Binds the Sun, 2018, ash and sweetgrass with commercial dye, acrylic ink, and 24-karat gold-plated beads, 16 1/2 × diam. 9 in., Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME, Museum purchase, The Philip Conway Beam Endowment Fund. Photo by Luc Demers.
Geo Neptune, Basket with Cover, dyed, braided, fancy plaited weave, wicker-plaited, 2013
- Geo Neptune, Piluwapiyit: The Powerful One, 2018, black ash and sweetgrass with commercially tanned deer skin, brain-tanned deer skin, cochineal-dyed deer skin, 24-karat gold-plated beads, freshwater pearls, garnets, and charlotte-cut glass beads, 13 × 8 × 8 in., Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Luc Demers.