R e g e n e r a t i o n
In 2015, the EPA designated the Ohio River the most polluted river in America for the seventh year in a row. The pollution, abuse and neglect of the Ohio River directly reflects our toxic relationship with each other, and ourselves. That the river rests on the unceded and stolen lands of the Shawnee, Osage, Miami, Hopewell, and Adena First Nations, and was the historic dividing line between free and enslaved states gives this region enormous cultural significance.
As one of the most industrialized rivers in the world, the noxious Greater Ohio River watershed drains into many tributaries and counties, and is representative of the deleterious trickle of ideas and thoughts that seep through our culture, and perpetuate patterns of inequity. What temporal relationships and connection to the land have been lost in our societal shift towards capitalism and consumerism? How do our choices and behavior directly impact our most vulnerable communities? This project focuses intently on the link between climate change and racial justice, and aims to center Indigenous voices in reflecting critically on received histories, and the erasure of Indigenous presence in this region.
As one of three states comprising the Shale Crescent, Ohio has significantly expanded its petrochemical production and shale extraction practices; ethane cracking, resulting in microplastics production, in this region has been set to increase by twenty times between 2013 and 2025. It is crucial to consider the far reaching consequences of these extractive practices.
Regeneration will be presented at the Cincinnati Museum Center from May 27, 2022 to January 2023 as part of the CMC's America's Epic Treasuers exhibition. This project is curated by musician Erin Fung and Sahtu Dene filmmaker and artist Tate Juniper, and is conducted in collaboration with the Western Arctic Youth Collective, and under advisory and consultation of the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition. The installation will feature a round table discussion held in the Northern community of Inuvik, Northwest Territories of authentic dialogue amongst hunters, artists, elders and the youth. Alongside this discussion, individuals will be interviewed to share tier own perspectives and relationship with our changing landscapes. This project aspires to shift away from the consumptive practice of museum display culture in an act of decolonizing curating spaces; the experience will be physically recreated at the CMC in an immersive, multimedia experience that encourages deeper listening, inspired by the Halq'eméylem concept of xwelalam, or witnessing/gathering/listening. Regeneration has been generously funded by ArtsWave's Truth and Reconciliation grant stream for black and brown artists.