Perpich Students Exhibiting at Friedli Gallery and Studio
September 26, 2022
Work by Nina Holding Eagle-Bushaw (Visual Arts 2023) and Pasakura Lee (Visual Arts 2023) will be featured at the Friedli Gallery and Studio for their upcoming exhibition, Blood on the Pavement: Notes on Healing. The exhibition uses visual art and sound to explore the space between violence and healing. “When there is always another loss, another tragedy, how do we move forward? When we are faced with continual violence against land, body, and truth, how can we heal?” asks the exhibition statement. Opening for the show is Friday, September 30 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Nina Holding Eagle-Bushaw is a senior at Perpich Arts High School. Originally from Moorhead, MN, her work focuses primarily on indigenous women and the experiences of being Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara in predominantly white communities. Her work also often talks about history and blood memory. “My pieces are all centered around the idea of traditional knowledge held by the women of my tribes, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara,” said Holding Eagle-Bushaw. “One piece is the before, when we still had all of that knowledge. The second is the process of the loss, and the third is about the gardeners now, who are rebuilding what we lost during colonization. These pieces are not from the eyes of the gardener, but the gardener’s daughter. For us to have these gardens means that we are healing, one garden and daughter at a time.”
Pasakura (Pasi) Lee is a senior at Perpich Arts High School. A Hmong artist based in the Twin Cities, Pasi primarily does digital illustrations along with acrylic paintings about her personal interests, ethnicity, and other identities. “Growing up Hmong, a core memory from my childhood is of what I believe to be the first time I ever was aware of stress i.e. hand-tying ceremonies,” said Lee. “Hand-tying ceremonies are a big part of my culture. It is a reminder of love, family, and blessings all embedded into a singular string of white yarn. Most Hmong people have a hand tie ceremony at least once a year and on special occasions like the birth of a child, the celebration of a new year, or after a recovery from sickness. All 100 of your relatives gather—cramped into your house—to celebrate you. I remember having very high expectations for my first hand tying ceremony; it was for my household so of course I’d be somewhat the star of the show. I was ready to be loved and appreciated by my family, but it turned out to be more stressful than exciting. Having multiple strangers reach for your arms at the same time so that they can quickly mumble their blessings in a small, crowded, and humid room for what felt like hours on end wasn’t what I expected. I looked to my mother, overwhelmed, and she told me through her clenched teeth, to keep smiling and I’ll get to pick from the candy tray first. Now that I’m older and have gone through multiple hand tie ceremonies in my life, I realize that most people show up out of obligation and not because they actually want to be there. It hurt when I first realized it, for awhile it even became one of the reasons why I despised my culture. I felt stuck in dishonesty among other things. Slowly but surely I came to accept that it was just how things were. To be more optimistic, I started to pay attention to the fact that at least people showed up for me. It may be ingenuine but they still do anyway and that thought is enough to comfort me.”
Kathryn D’Elia, Visual Arts Instructor at Perpich, has both Nina and Pasi as students in class. “The Friedli Art Gallery in Saint Paul is a fantastic space that is focused on creating community and fostering creative connection in the Saint Paul area and particularly engaging with individuals of diverse backgrounds,” said D’Elia. “I am delighted that two of our very hardworking Perpich students are being featured in the Blood on the Pavement: Notes on Healing exhibition. Not only is this an incredible opportunity for our artists to develop a creative presence outside of the school; this very unique show explores collaboration, the relationship between violence and healing, and using sound in conjunction with visual pieces to create an original, meaningful experience. This opportunity has offered great practice for our students to learn about gallery contracts, pricing their work, framing, presentation, and how to communicate with gallery owners leading up to a show. I am so proud of the work Pasi and Nina have created and their drive and effort to participate in this exhibition.”
Ron Brown, a Dorm Coordinator in the Perpich Delta Dorm, is also a participating artist in the exhibition. Details about his contribution are found here.
The Friedli Gallery and Studio is inclusive gallery and community space in Saint Paul, Minnesota.