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Thicker Than Water Symposium January 19, 2013 “The Personal Archive: Memory and Imagination in Contemporary Art”

The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts invites four photo/mixed media-based artists – Greg Staats, Anna Tsouhlarakis, Tom Jones and Brenda Croft– to address the complexities of family, biography, and race that intersect through blood and memory. Portraiture, family photo albums, documentary film, private and public archives and performance offer a rich platform to explore manifestations of Indigenous knowledge that negotiate ideas of “blood” as metaphorical and racial/biological measures for family and communal relations.

Autobiography often connotes a concern only with one’s personal genealogy and the nuclear family. “Thicker Than Water” as an exhibit concept recognizes a broader understanding of communal ideologies that extend into and then past this western construct of individualism to encompass Indigenous references of community, clan, and nation. An understanding of these various levels of belonging enable conversations where the imaginary and the real intersect, co-mingle and create space for a more comprehensive understanding of Indigenous realities in global contexts. The selection of artists from Canada, the US and Australia facilitate this more expansive conversation on what the notion of “belonging” means in a globalized 21st century.