Skip to Content

Keli Mashburn (Osage)

Wah.shka: On the occasion of the
2017 Venice Biennale

May 11-May 19, 2017
Certosa Island, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Opening May 11, 2017, 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Symposium May 15, 2017, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Curators Mary Bordeaux and Nancy Marie Mithlo present the exhibit Wah.shka (May 11-May 19, 2017, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM), on the occasion of the 57th La Biennale di Venezia. Multi-media artist/activist Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee) will exhibit her politically-charged sculptures addressing Indigenous resilience and survivance in concert with Osage photographer Keli Mashburn and Ojibwe filmmaker Marcella Ernest. Our project reflects twenty years of experience working in Venice, including the critically received exhibit featured at the Venice Biennale in May of 2015. The exhibit will take place on the Island of Certosa, a hub for artistic activity.

The symposium Wah.shka: Indigenous Arts and the Environment will take place May 15th 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the exhibit site, Casello delle Polveri, Island of Certosa.

Wah.shka is an Osage tribal word that references a people’s ability to do your best, try hard, struggle, or make an effort. Intrinsic to this endeavor is strength and power. Wah.shka, as a way of life, includes being humble, looking forward, and constantly seeking understanding of the visible world. Artists Ernest, Goshorn and Mashburn enhance this statement with their observations on the intersection of Native women and the environment. As Goshorn states, "Traditionally, Native people have revered and honored the life giving and nurturing qualities of women, personified in our relationship to our original mother, the Earth. May this work symbolize a movement to return to these values, to recognize the preciousness of motherhood and the priceless value of every single woman."


The Wah.shka exhibit is made possible by the generous support from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, The Osage Nation Foundation, Occidental College, the Autry Museum, the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, Vento di Venezia, and We Crociferi.