Haudenosaunee (Oneida Nation of the Thames)
“Constellations of Scars” is a part of my Akwelyá•ne | Kayá•tale' (My Heart | Portraits) series. There are so many times where people in our communities are misrepresented. My goal with this series to create portraits of people in a good way. My colleague and friend, Chief Lady Bird said that I “put emphasis on individual truths, reclamation of our identity, sovereignty over our bodies and emotions, and the importance of love,” which is my intention. I also give people the option to share a story or quote that ultimately becomes the caption. Too often, other people decide what the caption should say and I want to help reclaim that power for ourselves, especially as Indigenous women.
This self portrait is connected to my personal healing journey through visual storytelling. I recognize that the healing taking place today is representing more than my own generation's healing. The healing that happens today, helps heal my parents, grandparents and ancestors. The healing that happens today, helps heal my future children and grandchildren. It is so important for me to explore not only intergenerational trauma but intergenerational healing, especially through art.
The florals represent protection, growth, identity, voice, truth, love, and strength of women. I believe these stories are important to explore along the healing journey, personally and collectively. The florals spread out from different areas of the body: mouth, heart, head, feet, hands, back etc. Where they grow from, usually means something different for everyone.
I have been creating a lot of portraits of people from many different communities and I realized that I haven’t created a portrait of myself yet. I decided to create a self portrait to honour myself and the journey I am on in connection to healing multiple generations. With my bare back exposed and my head gazing to the moon and florals, my vulnerability makes itself known as I expose my scars. The florals extend out and wrap themselves around the moon connecting me to my femininity and strength in vulnerability. I have physically transformed my scars into stars by creating constellations, stitching them together with a needle and thread. These become my own personal constellations representing where I come from and the strength in that connection to vulnerability.