My work documents and preserves the everyday life of the Lumbee people, along with the members of other Southeastern Native American tribes. They are from my perspective, as I am Lumbee, and depict the people, places, and events specific to us. We are a version of the Postmodern Native, a combination of various Southeastern Native American tribes, with European and African influences. We intermixed with other tribes and settlers, retained our cultural identity, and assimilated into European culture in order to survive, not succumbing to the meta-narrative of the Native American. Our daily lives bear witness to these tactics: we have various physical features, host powwows, attend Christian churches, have lived in the same area for the last 10,000 years (not a reservation), speak with a distinct Southern drawl, and identify ourselves as Native American.

The act of painting, drawing, beading and printmaking allows me to meditate on the narrative and process, escaping to the moment the photograph was shot, becoming overcome by the emotions, sounds, and stories associated with each subject. My lithographs convey our relationship to the land and the importance of our history. The large format and vibrant colors of my paintings reflect the vitality of contemporary Native culture and identity, creating monuments to a people who have persevered in the face of oppression and the appeal of assimilation. My beadwork incorporates traditional Native art with contemporary artistic methods.

Jessica Clark Art