Twenty Native American artists will both present and live in a radical large-scale installation of public art in Central Park for the summer of 2020, in a groundbreaking project linking communities across the globe.

The artists, from varying tribal nations across the USA, will explore colonialism and the deep effects it has on indigenous people for the installation, called Settlement. It will be designed by indigenous artists with the structure created by builders, makers and artists from Plymouth and the USA.

For four weeks in July and August 2020, the thought-provoking installation will also host individual and collaborative works by a wide range of artists including 20 additional indigenous artists.

There will be an exciting four-week long engagement programme which is open to all and will include workshops, performances and talks. Running alongside will be very intimate moments for engagement which will be by invitation only. 

Indigenous and mixed heritage artists will investigate and interpret their lives as the survivors of settler colonialism. The pre-contact population of Native Americans was between 9 and 18 million. By the latter part of the 19th century, this indigenous population was reduced to approximately 250,000. This horrific genocide included boarding schools, involuntary sterilisation and mass murder. 

Settlement in turn creates a space for people who live in a country with a history of colonising others to explore the ideas of decolonisation and Indigenisation.  

Decolonisation centres on unpicking the damage done by settler culture and indigenisation aims to recognise the importance of Indigenous knowledge and points of view.

Settlement is a collaborative concept between Plymouth-based collective theconscioussisters and Native American artist Cannupa Hanska Luger who describes the project below:

Settlement, n. An official agreement intended to resolve a dispute or conflict. 

This is one of two definitions for the term settlement as sourced from the Oxford Dictionary of English. This definition is the more honest description of what an Indigenous perspective of the term is, and as we appropriate this language for the title of our engagement for 2020 in Plymouth, UK, we as Indigenous peoples of North America have no intention of staying.

Rather our visit will support the process of moving towards a more relational understanding and acknowledgement for settler ancestors around the immensely diverse, evolving and thriving Indigenous perspectives of North America.

Even to this day, each of our communities are in some way silenced, oppressed and distorted by colonisation, yet we remain and we adapt. For this project we are coming to share our resilience and reality on our terms, to support a resolve of conflict within ourselves, and to take ownership back of our stories and practices, perpetuating the most honest representation of our existence from this point into the future.

The artists working on the site from the US include: Cannupa Hanska Luger, Demian Dine’ Yazhi’, Dylan McLaughlin,  Emily Johnson, Freyr A. Marie, Kathy Whitman, Raven Chacon and Yatika Fields. The UK Producer is Fiona Evans and US Producer will be Ginger Dunnill

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