TAKTAKL’ I G’ EE LA (Red Earth, Klamath)
Oil paint, oil ground, wax crayons & spray paint on 6 (18” x 24”) wood panels on 12 ft. Red Cedar Shelf, 2014.
Installation at ROCKSBOXCONTEMPORARYFINEART Gallery June 2014.
CADRE PSU MFA in Contemporary Art Practices Graduates group show
Two seasons ago HéyÓka appeared at my camp. We were lit by the red emerging from the ceremonial fire and there I learned about Trickster and the sacred jester of opposite. HéyÓka told me stories about the kettle ceremony where he got his medicine and then he spun his thunder stick and during the third round on the third day the rain came in rich storm clouds braking the thickness of heat and it poured down on the Sundancers. I glimpsed powerful temporalities only perceived by HéyÓka and the boundaries of the stone people opened for his medicine to pass through. When I closed my eyes at the cedar draped arbor HéyÓka’s face was staring at me, upside down, yet right side up and masked. HéyÓka was staring at my spirit, at the place where my spirit resides and I was singing. Then, when I opened my eyes HéyÓka was gone and my consciousness was impregnated with fascination for this entity of contrary’ Ness.
The painting and sculptural installations of TAKTAKL’ I explore Indigenous interpretations of TAKTAKL’ I (Klamath or Mak’ Lak word for Red) in an effort to reclaim shifting postcolonial spaces. Two paradigms are bridged when traditional materials imbued with spiritual and functional meaning meet techniques hi-jacked from western european-north american art histories. The dichotomies represented by traditional American Indian art forms and western influenced mark making stimulate dialogue within an Indigenous: settler/colonizers binary, making transparent violent, beautiful, and complicated legacies. Contemplating the idea of TAKTAKL’I first from an Indigenous paradigm and then through a western gaze, allows this problematic binary to emerge, illuminating the contrary nature of these conflicting worldviews.
The source material that inspires Kaila Farrell-Smith’s work references contemporary Indigenous gaps of knowledge due to legacies of cultural genocide and colonialism, such as loss of languages and displacement from ancestral homelands. Kaila Farrell-Smith evolves visual languages that communicate past essentialist notions of pan-native americanisms, by bridging Indigenous knowledge and perpetuating cultural art forms and meaning. Employing both the deconstruction and reconstruction of language, mark’s and color function as contextualization of visual disharmony, erasure, defacement, and violent disruptions, that pair and transform into passages of balance and zones of refuge.