I see art, love, and healing as indivisible syntheses, and I think “for” is the most important word in art. In my work, I explore identity, knowledge, and power as they relate to human and nonhuman flourishing. I also believe that responsible humor is essential to regrounding us in our shared humanity. And you know what? I think art is also meant to simply delight, to breathe hope/beauty/absurdity into our day-to-day so we may continue to survive.
*There’s no word for “artist” in Chickasaw. I don’t know as much as I should about my ancestors’ worldviews, even though I’m scrambling to learn more, but I interpret this to mean that humans are inherently creative beings who each can contribute to a flourishing collective according to their abilities and capacities. This differs from Western philosophies that strip the “creative” mind from the “analytical” one, an arbitrary compartmentalization which has caused tremendous harm. Many people are unable to bring their full selves into classrooms and workplaces, which results not only in significant personal distress but also in grave inefficiencies. As an artist who has worked in policy and academia, I can confidently say that my creative practice has significantly bolstered my analytical one and vice versa. I fear we are deeply entrenched in systems that have caused significant harm and have prevented an incomprehensible amount of innovation.