Kelly Church’s Sustaining Traditions–Digital Memories

Meet the Artists of Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

A oval artwork with green and gold material woven into it.

Kelly Church (Ottawa/Pottawatomi), Sustaining Traditions—Digital Memories, 2018, black ash, sweetgrass, Rit dye, copper, vial EAB, and flash drive with black ash teachings, Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Richard Church, Odawa-Pottawatomi. © Kelly Church

Artist’s Language

Ozhaawaashkwaa gaa izhi aabajichigaadeg ji- aawechigaazod mayagi-manidoons. A’aw mayagi-manidoons ogii nishi’aan wiisagaakoon, ge chinendaagozinid wii giizhenindaagwag agogobinaaganan, gabeya’iing giiwedinong Naawi-Gichimookomaanaki. O’gii atoon o’ow agogobinaaganing, ge Fabergé waawan ezhi naagwag (gichitwaa-naagwadoon waawanoon gaa gizhenindaagwag wiikaa 1800’s ako wiiba 1900’s), mikwendamojiganens izhi teg ge Kelly Church idang “gakina gaa gikinoo’amaagoyang, gakina noongom izhiwebag, dash gakina geyabi daa izhichigeyang niigaan-nakeyaang wii zhaabwiitoon o’ow izhitwaawin [agogobinaaganikewin].”

English

The green in this basket represents the emerald ash borer. This beautiful insect has destroyed ash trees, essential to making ash baskets, throughout the Upper Midwest. Placed within this basket, which is shaped like a Fabergé egg (jeweled eggs made in the late 1800s and early 1900s), is a flash drive containing what Kelly Church describes as “all the teachings of the past, all of the things happening today, and all of the things we need to do in the future to sustain this tradition [basket weaving].”