Image Credit: Sky Hopinka, This is the by and by, 2019. Inkjet print with hand-scratched text
An enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and a descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Hopinka uses personal and collective memories to destabilize traditional colonial narratives and critique cultural systems, such as ethnography, museology and anthropology, that continue to depict indigenous cultures in limited and static ways.
Hopinka combines the power of visual storytelling with an interest in semiotics to illuminate the role image and language – in the form of poetry, songs and historic texts – play in shaping cultural identity. Textural fragments are juxtaposed with symbolic and abstract imagery in video, photography and 16mm film to explore personal and historical understandings of different native homelands, the stories they hold, and their interconnectedness.
Collectively, the works included in “Present Joys,” present an ecology of self. They collapse a linear sense of time as historical events are acknowledged as actively informing and coexisting with the present while they shift back and forth. Other in-between potentialities, such as the ways in which landscapes evoke history, language holds culture, and music elicits memories, are thoughtfully layered within each individual piece to add further complexity and nuance.