Ryan Young: We Define Ourselves

TheColonizer'sTools.jpg

Ryan Young, The Colonizer's Tools, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young
Ryan Young, The Colonizer's Tools, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young

MyGenderisIndigenous.jpg

Ryan Young, My Gender is Indigenous, 2017. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young
Ryan Young, My Gender is Indigenous, 2017. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young

TheCreatorisTwoSpirit.jpg

Ryan Young, The Creator is Two Spirit, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young
Ryan Young, The Creator is Two Spirit, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young

Ty.jpg

Ryan Young, Ty, 2017. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young
Ryan Young, Ty, 2017. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young

InvasiveSpeciesofNorthAmerica.jpg

Ryan Young, Invasive Species of North America, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young
Ryan Young, Invasive Species of North America, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young

BloodQuantumisaHeterosexualConstruct.jpg

Ryan Young, Blood Quantum is a Heterosexual Construct, 2017. Courtesy of the artist. © Ryan Young

Exhibition

On view
Jul 20, 2018 to Aug 21, 2018
Main Level, Link Gallery

Ryan Young (They/Them/Their) is a multi-disciplinary Two Spirit Ojibwe artist whose work addresses intersections in identity. They state that the work on view, "cannot be identified as solely one part of my identity or the other." Ryan Young: We Define Ourselves is organized by Native American House at Illinois.

Artist's Statement

"I've never called myself an Indian artist. Everyone else has."

   - Fritz Scholder

Scholder’s art provoked questions that a lot of contemporary Indigenous artists ask themselves (e.g. "What is Indian art? Who is an Indian artist? To what extent must a person have lived an 'Indian life' to be an Indian artist? What of the non-Indian who employs traditional Indian styles or treats Indian subjects?")

As artists, we are constantly in a tug of war between defining our work and having our work defined for us. This becomes especially difficult as artists with intersectional identities.

Norval Morrisseau has been long identified as an Indigenous artist, but was also openly bisexual. His artistic style identified him as a Native artist to his audience, which overshadowed his sexuality, despite its presence in some of his work. What makes his art more Indigenous than queer? Who identifies an artwork as either Indigenous or queer? Is it the artist, or the audience who interprets their work?

As a Two Spirit artist, I’m always having these discussions with my art. Is my queer art Indigenous? Is my Indigenous art queer? How is it defined? Is it the artist who makes the work? Is it the subject matter, or lack thereof? Even the context of the space the work is shown can play a role.

The pieces shown in this gallery reflects my empowerment as a Two Spirit person. This work that cannot be identified as solely one part of my identity or the other; it is equally queer and Indigenous.

 

About the Artist

Ryan Young (They/Them/Their) is a multi-disciplinary Two Spirit Ojibwe artist completing their BFA in Studio Arts and a certificate in Performing Arts this fall at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. Their work focuses on the intersections of cultural, gender and sexual identity. They are a fashion photographer for Native Max Magazine, and their most recent collaborations include contributions to an upcoming book by the American Theatre Wing, and being selected as the designing artist for Eighth Generation's latest blanket design for the Two Spirit community, due out in November. They are currently working at the Native American House at the University of Illinois as the Coordinator for Two Spirit and Indigenous Programming.

Curated by Nichole Boyd and Ryan Young

Organized by Native American House at the University of Illinois; sponsored by Krannert Art Museum

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Provenance: A Forensic History of Art, installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2017.
  1. May 13, 2017 to Dec 8, 2018
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Allen Stringfellow, Street Smarts II, ca. 1990s. Collage and watercolor on paper. Gift of John and Dorothy Gardner. 2014-8-1
  1. Aug 30, 2018 to Mar 23, 2019
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Cuzco School (active Cuzco, Peru, 16th–18th century), Our Lady of the Remedies of La Paz, ca. 1750. Welcome Wall installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2018. Photo by Jessica L. Hung.
  1. Sep 12, 2018 to Dec 8, 2018
Welcome Wall
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Kennedy Browne, Real World Harm (Act I), 2018. Still from 360º video for Oculus, 5 minutes. Courtesy of the artists © Kennedy Browne
  1. Oct 4, 2018 to Feb 9, 2019
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John Clem Clarke (United States, b. 1937), Louis XIV, 1969. Lithograph on paper. Gift of George M. Irwin 1995-9-2.4
  1. Nov 2, 2018 to Dec 15, 2018
Response Wall