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Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii) [Blackfeet Tribe of Montana] is an art educator and visual artist that works to center her own personal narrative regarding the processes of navigating mental health, cultural identity, and reclamation of space as a Blackfeet woman in 2022. She creates acclaimed vibrant self-portraits, billboards, and projects of reclamation.
"My body of work primarily consists of acrylic on canvas self-portraits and highlight the complexities of engaging in ancient cultural practices as a Blackfeet woman in 2022. Through my portrait paintings I reclaim a sense of autonomy and agency over my own representation and narrative as a young Blackfeet woman who grew up living out our ceremonial 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 these 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 artwork that visually reflects this experience."
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