Future Directions: Hattie Lee Mendoza & Lisa LaRue-Baker

fri06sep5:00pfri8:00pFuture Directions: Hattie Lee Mendoza & Lisa LaRue-Baker5:00p - 8:00p 785 Arts

The Details

(This is the LAST show opening that will be held in a 785 Arts retail space gallery. Changes coming for 785 Arts, follow our Facebook page for updates as they are released!)

Cherokee Nation tribal members Hattie Lee Mendoza and Lisa LaRue Baker team up to present their unique and innovative basketry and flat weaving work.

Histories on many spectrums—ancestral, artistic, material, personal, and cultural—fuel my practice. My studio is a flux of mediums and objects in constant conversation with each other: A small original gouache painting gets printed on custom fabric, which goes into a mixed media collage, informing a piece of wearable art, or adding to the composition of a new gouache painting. Nothing is off-limits to being repurposed and reimagined. A member of the Cherokee Nation, this process is a personal narrative of the Native American Diaspora. A product of Cherokee, Scottish, Swiss-German, and other diaspora, I am, in my very DNA, a collage of cultures, values, histories, and personal aesthetics. I react by collaging materials from my ancestors, contemporary community, and personal life experiences. Graphic design, fine art, and fiber are all woven into my ancestral tapestry the same way I weave in and out of mediums in my studio. Sometimes, literally weaving materials. I illustrate personal narratives by inventing compositions driven by a theme or experience, translating them through the lens of abstracted patterns I’ve built out of my cultural research of Cherokee and other native arts. These personal illustrations are a hybrid of being culturally grounded, while also being far from native upbringing; a life influenced by various sources to the point of abstraction. There is a feel of beadwork or sewing, but the painting may contain neither. I view each piece I create as its own individual entity, yet all contributing to a visual language I am inventing. An aesthetic world that people of many cultural backgrounds can relate to or appreciate in some form. Sometimes my compositions are cropped. These flow from me instinctively; yet, when I contemplate where it is coming from, I see my subconscious expressing core feelings that the people in my life, at any given time, only see one part of me. One part of my surroundings, heritage, upbringing, or expat experiences. There is not one individual in my world who has seen my life influences holistically, or even every house I’ve lived in. Cropped images feel like cropping a piece of culture- ambiguous but beautiful; informed by elements unseen. I’m a woman who is constantly picking which cropped piece of my life I’m operating out of, while still trying to maintain them all and present myself to the world as a whole. Cultivating and presenting a joy of cultural differences, influences, and histories allows hope to exist for where we might go in regards to tribes, countries, and personal communities in the future.

Lisa LaRue-Baker is a multi-talented digital artist who seamlessly blends her personal photography with vintage images, infusing them with vibrant hues through hand-tinting techniques using watercolors.
Lisa is also a double wall basket maker and instructor who has been making baskets for over 25 years. Her work is on the contemporary side, using materials such as stainless steel, copper, silicone, and anything else ‘weavable.’ She always makes the basket traditional on the inside and contemporary on the outside, ‘just like myself.’
Lisa is a Cherokee Nation citizen who currently lives in Topeka, Kansas and is a member of the Kansas City Cherokee Community. She was taught basketry skills by Sandy Long, Thelma Vann Forrest, and Anna Sixkiller. With work in the permanent collections of several museums and frequently shown in various art shows around the country, she is also the gallerist and owner of 785 Arts LLC, a Department of the Interior-listed Native American art gallery, the founder of the DoPiKa Project, and serves on several art organization boards.
Her Cherokee family is from the Stilwell and Vian areas in Oklahoma. She worked for Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center as Literature Review Coordinator, where she assisted in language program development and basket classes. She was also involved in the development of the Cherokee Nation Word List, the Language Teacher Certification Program, and was certified as a Cherokee History instructor by the administration.
“Education has always been important to me, but creativity is my passion.
I find that creativity is often the best way to educate others. Whether it be through my music, writing, photography, bohemian art, or traditional Cherokee arts, I find a way for each piece to not only speak to someone’s soul, but leave a lasting memory of history – or hope for the future. As a Native American artist, I not only create traditional art of my tribe, but contemporary arts in many genres. Touching all cultures, experiences and goals is not only the life of the contemporary Native, but helps reach many people. Indigenous art does not always have to have an “Indian” theme, but rather, is from either our perspective or embodies traditional teachings. Art IS our culture. Everything we do is surrounded by and based on art. Being an artist is an important part of being a culture-bearer.

I am a Native Artist crossing the boundaries into the non-Native art world.”


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