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Artist Conversation: Erin Genia, Sculpture faculty, SMFA & Elizabeth James Perry
October 14, 12pm
Curtis Hall / Medford

Multidisciplinary Native artists Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate/Odawa) and Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag), whose practices span public art, textiles, jewelry-making, and other mediums, will join in dialogue over the values that guide their work, from cross-cultural and Native art expressions to traditional ecological knowledge and the impact of climate change. Elizabeth James-Perry is currently mentoring Erin Genia in hand-sculpted traditional wampum art, through the Massachusetts Cultural Council Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program and is also a marine biologist.

Presented in conjunction with Erin Genia’s commissioned public art mural Wakpa, located in the Jackson Gym parking lot next to the Tufts University Art Galleries entrance, on view through the 2021–22 academic year. Co-sponsored with Environmental Studies as part of the Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lecture Series.

Erin Genia, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate/Odawa (she/ her), is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and community organizer specializing in Native American and Indigenous arts and culture. Genia has an MS in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT, an MPA in Tribal Governance from The Evergreen State College and studied at Institute of American Indian Arts. Her public art commissions include the Minnesota Historical Society, the City of Saint Paul, and the City of Seattle. Genia lives and works in the greater Boston region, was a 2020 Artist-In-Residence for the City of Boston, and works with the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Public Art team on the project Centering Justice: Indigenous Artists’ Perspectives on Public Art.

Elizabeth James-Perry is an enrolled member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe on the island of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard). Her fine artwork focuses on Northeastern Woodlands Algonquian artistic expressions: Wampum shell carving and diplomacy, sustainable weaving, and natural dyeing methods. As a member of a Nation that has long lived on and harvested the sea, James-Perry’s perspective combines art and appreciation for Native storytelling and traditional environmental knowledge in relation to coastal North Atlantic life. She has spoken about her Nation’s wampum traditions on the podcast Indigeneity, and has appeared in Native People’s Magazine, the Native Fashion Now exhibition catalogue, and First American Art She was a recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s 2014 Traditional Arts Fellowship. James-Perry resides in South Coast Massachusetts where she works as an artist, educator, and exhibition consultant.