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Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii) [Blackfeet Tribe of Montana] is a visual artist and curator that centers and reclaims her own personal narrative regarding cultural identity and reclamation of space as a Blackfeet woman. She creates acclaimed vibrant self-portraits, billboards, and projects of reclamation.
"My body of work primarily consists of acrylic on canvas self-portraits and highlights the complexities of engaging in ancient cultural practices as a Blackfeet woman in 2023. Through my portrait paintings I reclaim a sense of agency over my own representation and narrative as a young Blackfeet woman who grew up living out our traditional way of life. There is a unique responsibility and power specific to Blackfoot women that I work to showcase in my paintings. My work reminds Blackfoot women, girls, and Aa’woowaakii (Two-Spirit individuals) that we are more than this inflicted extraction and intergenerational trauma that we face. Prior to colonization and today, we continue to hold pivotal roles in our community that can only be fulfilled by our unique gifts and knowledge. We are still rich in resiliency and all of our cultural ways of being. We deserve to have space held for us where our voices can be centered and our beauty can be celebrated. I work to achieve this through my curatorial projects and artwork that visually reflects this experience."
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