Sarah Sense Artist Statement
With traditional Chitimacha basket techniques using nontraditional material of cut paper woven into flat mats and baskets, I have taught myself a weaving practice to expose socio-political themes effecting Native peoples, particularly issues of traditional-land preservation and popular culture’s misappropriations of Native cultures. Most recent works include my photographs of Bayou Teche, the main water fixture on the Chitimacha reservation. The bayou and surrounding waters are home to cypress trees. Cypress roots grow into the earth under water and then above water to breathe oxygen through the root, delicately balancing life with water, air and earth. Woven through these landscapes are family photographs, Hollywood posters, antique posters, wild west show imagery, my Choctaw grandmother’s memoirs, and my two personas: Cowgirl and Indian Princess. The photo-weavings gently reveal patterns morphing and changing into abstraction to push imagery forward and backward, creating an unlikely dialogue between images. Like photographs, stories are a recorded history, merging time and memory repeatedly both orally and visually. In these weavings, intersections of land, spirit and tradition humbly tell a story.
Sarah Sense creates photo-weavings with traditional Chitimacha/Choctaw techniques, her photography, and found imagery. Sense is from Sacramento, California, currently living in Bristol, England. She holds a BFA from CSU Chico and a MFA from Parsons, NYC. While curator/director of the American Indian Community House Gallery, NYC, Sense catalogued the gallery’s thirty-year history, inspiring her search for international Indigenous Art. Moving to Santiago, Chile afforded an in-depth search ensuing Weaving the Americas, A Search for Native Art in the Western Hemisphere, a book and exhibition debuting in Valdivia, Chile (2011). Continuing the project, Weaving Water, a further search in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, debuted in Bristol, England (2013). Grandmother’s Stories (2015) a collaboration with her Choctaw Grandmother and Remember (2016) are inspired by motherhood, Ireland and European family histories. Current work revisits Chitimacha landscapes with Cypress (2017) and Cowgirls and Indians (2018) entangling a fifteen-year image collection. Research on Native North American histories in England will be articulated in her first permanent installation, Plymouth, England (2020).
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