Scottsdale, AZ

'And It’s Built on the Sacred' Installation is on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Alistair Dominguez

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ — 'And It’s Built on the Sacred' installation by Jacob A. Meders (Mechoopda/Maidu) is currently on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, SMoCa, until October 17, 2021.

The installation theme focuses on the gentrification of Indigenous land and the treatment of unwanted Euro-American religious objects. The installation initiated an open dialogue about forsaken objects such as souvenirs and religious objects and a review of how meaning can be added and reform in these objects.

“Building on, replacing, and destroying what is sacred has been the gentrification of Indigenous land,” wrote Meders.

The artist, Jacob Meders (Mechoopda/Maidu), works as an Assistant Professor at ASU Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program. Jacob founded WarBird Press, a fine art printmaking studio in Phoenix, where he operates the studio as a Master Printmaker.

His work focuses on altered perceptions of place, culture, and identity around the Indigenous people’s assimilation and homogenization issues. Sometimes his work also connected with the issues the Indigenous communities currently facing.

Meders took found objects - unwanted religious objects - which the previous owner didn’t want anymore, then hand-painted Indigenous people’s traditional markings on them. By doing this he is questioning the meaning of holiness and sacredness, can one object be considered both holy and sacred.

After that, he is reflecting sacred elements, the loss of the sacred, and how easily disposable sacred meaning can be by placing a circular dirt floor made by hand in the center of the installation. When the old and new installation components are combined, it results in “re-Indigenize” the gallery as a sacred space.

Meders explained that to understand what is sacred means respecting and honoring the sacred.

Julie Ganas, the curator of the exhibition, said that SMoCA realized that the land we are on is the sacred land of Indigenous people and SMoCA is honored to be part of the land.

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