This body of works comes directly after three years of research and having completed my MFA in Visual Arts at the University of Kansas. I have been intensely researching a group of photographs of unidentified Native Americans whose identities being culture, name, and homeland have all been lost. In most cases the identity of the photographer is also unknown and their photographs have been staged with multiple cultural artifacts that are not perhaps true to the wearer.
The first part of my research was gathering the photographs of Native Americans that were taken in the years that the treaties between the United States government and the tribes of Native America were created. In these photographs, many of which were staged, there are many unknowns as we don't know who the people are, which Native American tribe/culture that they come from, and they are often wearing beadwork from several different cultures. They may have a vest that looks Lakota, a pair of leggings that could be Assiniboine, a woodland bag, parfletch, or moccasins. I wanted to see if I could find pieces in museum collections that would be similar to the pieces worn in the photographs. I then connected with the Menninger collection at the Spencer Museum in Lawrence, Kansas. With the help of their Indigenous Curator Cassandra Mesick, I was able connect the beadwork from the photographs to individual pieces in their collections. The final step was to a create body of work that would reinterpret the research and reestablish it into my own process. The symbols and marking on the surface of the basketballs are my artistic interpretation between the beadwork in the photographs and the pieces that I was able to hold with a gloved hand in the Spencer Museum's collection. "Honoring Modern Unidentified" was the first set I created with encaustic and oil on ceramic forms, which were in the MOCNA exhibition "Stands With a Fist" in Santa Fe, New Mexico and that traveled to the exhibition at the Hotchkiss Tremaine Gallery in Common Denominator. Four are now in the permanent collection of the North American Native Museum in Zurich Switzerland in an exhibition titled "Land,Art,Horizons."