Flushing Town Hall, Queens Museum, and NativeTec present a live virtual Native Artist Spotlight Panel to discuss and showcase their contemporary art and its influence on our history. Moderated by Tecumseh Ceaser, Matinecock Turkey Clan, with Native American artists living in Queens, the Bronx, Long Island, and Florida, this panel will convene to explore the range of their art and what it means to be Native artist in the 21st century.
Flushing Town Hall encourages attendees to explore the panelists’ websites in advance of the discussion and to support the local artists.
Tecumseh Ceaser is a Native American artist and cultural consultant of Matinecock Turkey clan, Montaukett, Metoac, and Unkechaug descent. Born and raised in Queens, the homeland of the Matinecock, he works in the traditional medium and practice of quahog shell (wampum) carving. His goal is to bring exposure to the indigenous groups of Queens and Long Island and draw attention to the fact that Native American culture and art are not stagnant. He frequently collaborates with local tribes to bring cultural programming to their communities. As a cultural consultant and Native activist, he currently serves as an advisor for the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the United Nations, where he advocates for Indigenous Americans’ rights to member states, NGOs, and other indigenous nations. He provided cultural education to universities, museums, and institutions including St. John’s University, Socrates Sculpture Park, Flushing Town Hall, and NYU. He is in residence at Flushing Town Hall, Queens Museum of Art, and IBEX Puppetry. He also works on a number of community initiatives such as Graves Protection Warriors Society, Algonquian Language Revitalization Project, Munsee Lunaape Language class.
In addition to Tecumseh Ceaser, the panel will feature:
Dennis Darkeem (Yamassee Creek-Seminole) is Bronx-born and raised. He is of Yamassee Creek-Seminole Native American and African American descent. Darkeem has been an Artist and Art educator for over ten years working in the DOE, Private and Charter schools in the South Bronx and Harlem. He has been the head Art teacher at South Bronx Early College Academy for 4 years, and received his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and his Master’s in Art Direction from Pratt Institute. Over the years, Darkeem has become a prominent contemporary artist and art educator in the Bronx. He’s been an Artist in Residence with many art organizations like Wave Hill, the Laundromat Project, The Point, Bronx Children’s Museum, I.C.P, and Jamaica Arts Center. Dennis has exhibited his work at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Brooklyn Museum of the Arts, La Mama Theater, The MoMA, Bronx Art Space, and others and has received fellowships and scholarships from the NYSFA, NYC Teachers Foundation, Marko Roth scholarship, and Price Waterhouse Fellowship award. Dennis is also the creator and founder of Bronx Artist Day, RedMoon Bronx Soaps and Teas, and The RedMoon Arts Movement Inc, an organization that brings art and art resources to young people of the South Bronx and the tri-state area, and supplies young people with the skills necessary to be their own boss. Dennis believes in the philosophy “Art is Power”. Art is a tool, used to inform, engage, inspire, educate, embrace and celebrate one’s uniqueness. When one is open to arts one is open to the world. www.dennisredmoondarkeem.com
Sunshine Gumbs (Shinnecock) is an Eastern Woodland Native from the Shinnecock Nation located in Southampton, Long Island, New York. Her love for her culture and being creative have allowed her to share a glimpse of who she is by expressing it through her work. Every piece of art she makes is given individualized attention that focuses on making it a unique design inspired by her Eastern Woodland culture. By combining her traditions with skills as an artist and designer she creates authentic handcrafted native designs that range from jewelry and accessories to clothing and custom work. Her inspiration has always come from the love of her culture, the beauty of her homelands and the continual living and practice of her traditions! She is an aboriginal woman of the lands, and she has boundless respect for our Mother Earth and all that She provides for us daily, so she must give back in a way that honors our earth, that brightens worlds all around and represents her and the lands she comes from in all that she does! Ever since Gumbs was a child she’s had a passion for creating and bringing her ideas to life, and so she began to hone in on those skills and challenge herself more. She learned watching her mother sew and create their regalia and she passed those skills on to her children. She has been creating, making regalia, and adding her traditional flare to everything she does ever since. As Indigenous people, art has always been a part of traditional practices and cultural expression, and representing who she is as a traditional woman in a modern world will shine a brighter light on Eastern Woodland styles, from the perspective and creative view of her, Sunshine Gumbs. https://www.etsy.com/shop/sunshinegumbsdesigns
Durrell Hunter (Shinnecock) is a Florida-based, self-taught artist known for his gritty, yet realistic works of art. The 34-year-old Shinnecock Native gets his inspiration from impressionism, abstract, and realism. Durrell’s passion for art has been with him since birth. But it wasn’t until after high school that a friend would inspire Durrell to paint. Durrell’s work can range from abstract to realism, and have a little of anything in between. Very few of his pieces have just one art style involved. Since he began painting Durrell has sold over 70 paintings. He assisted in painting album plaques, and a Rick Ross display in ”Trap music museum” Atlanta GA. He developed Facebook’s visual image for Indigenous Peoples Day 2020. He was a part of a visual exhibition curated by Preservation Long Island, with The Shinnecock Indian Nation. Durrell hopes to be known for his artistic expression. His ability to navigate different artistic styles to collectively bring them together, and to tell a story of how Shinnecock Native Americans have been forced to adjust to the occurrences around them, as well as have viewers of his work drawn into the visual emotion of his pieces. Nhaleart.net
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