First American Art Magazine No. 22, Spring 2019 - Page 81

KATHLEEN WALL KW: As a contemporary artist, all I can really do is work hard and hope my work is accepted into the future contemporary art narrative. I don’t know when my work will be talked about on a larger scale, in classrooms or textbooks. All I can do is be patient and hope to be accepted in the long run. RD: Any special projects in the works? KW: I guess I like to think all my projects are special. I’m always excited to tackle a new body of work. Right now I’m working on some paintings and sculptures, mixed- media pieces that talk about Native American names. This is a reclaiming of Native identity. By addressing ourselves and each other in our own language, we acknowledge that we are the people we come from. I’ve done some pieces where the Native name will be an actual place. To Native people, the importance of place is reflected in our names, in what we call each other every day, and in the names of places. I also started a body of work called The Makers. It highlights the makers of traditional art by putting traditional Pueblo materials in a painting and adding a portrait or a sculpture of an ancestor making art, which is something I have been inspired by all my life. RD: In our lifetimes, we have seen immense change and evolution within the Pueblo ceramic genre. How do you envision the future of the art form in the hands of the next generation, say over the next 50 years or so? KW: There is endless possibility in the genre. It’s interesting—in the Native art community you see a beautiful evolution from [historical] art to modern sculptural pieces. I don’t see as many young artists pursuing it like I did in the past, but the artists I do see carrying it forward are innovative, creative, and fearless. I’m excited to see what comes to Native art in general over the next 50 years. But as far as pottery and ceramics are concerned, I see continuous growth and innovation. As the art forms’ techniques continue to be taught and innovated upon and a better understanding of clay embraced, the genre will continue to evolve. RD: What are you trying to convey to the viewer through your work? KW: I hope the viewer takes inspiration from my art, a sense of excitement for something new. With this new medium I’m working with, I definitely want people to hear a different voice from me. Through my new work, I’m hoping to communicate a more serious point of view. Most of my work is very lighthearted and whimsical, and, although I really love to make that type of work, I would like my new work to convey some serious subject matter such as the importance of place—where we as Native Americans come from and where we live. I would like my art to acknowl- edge how Native people lived in the past, and that we are still here. And, yes, we’ve evolved and changed while still keeping a strong culture with respect to our relatives today, as well as our ancestors. Through my art, I would like to honor the strength and resilience of Native people. RD: Any thoughts on what your creative legacy will reflect for future Native artists? KW: I really don’t think about that too much. I just hope it’s something positive! RD: I’d say you’ve succeeded. And on that note, I thank you again for your time and energy and for letting our readers peek into your world, if only for a few moments. KATHLEEN-WALL.COM SPRING 2019 | 79