Congressional Exhibition Project’s second Native American Art Reception, a celebration in honor of Native American Heritage Month Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hearing Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building Wednesday, November 14 6:00 – 8:00 pm

You are cordially invited to a special art reception in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
RECEPTION: Wednesday, November 14, 2018, from 6-8 PM at the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hearing Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building at 50 Constitution Ave NE Washington, DC 20002.

SOUL OF NATIONS is pleased to announce the Congressional Exhibition Project’s second Native American Art Reception, a celebration in honor of Native American Heritage Month. Special thanks to New Mexico’s Senator, Tom Udall, for serving as an honorary host for the reception. Senator Tom Udall is a catalyst for the progression of Native peoples and is currently the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Words will also be provided by Congressman Raúl Grijalva. Congressman Grijalva is a member of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs and has been an avid advocate for Native American suicide prevention.

The goal of the Congressional Exhibition Project is to show how visual art and policy can work in cohesion. This presentation will debut a talented group of young Indigenous artists currently attending high school and college. The artistic theme of this year’s project is “Native American Dream.” Soul of Nations’ hopes this theme will encourage a dialogue regarding the harsh realities that many Native American communities face today in contrast to the optimistic outlook toward the future.

Over 20 artists’ work will be displayed in the United States Russell Senate Building Rotunda in Washington, DC beginning Tuesday, November 27, 2018. During the reception, emerging artists GREGORY BALLENGER and QUANSHAI ABEYTA will discuss their artistic style while explaining how their artworks comply with the project’s theme “Native American Dream.”

Quanshai Abeyta (Navajo/Diné) is a high school Senior at Alamo Navajo School. Abeyta’s piece, entitled Dream Catcher, is an abstract representation of encapsulated dark thought utilized as a progressive tactic of encouragement for remaining unbowed while facing the ongoing spiritual battle synchronous to Indigenous life. Abeyta: “Natives go through so much pain that we have to come up with our own sense of protection from darkness and danger. That’s when our dream catchers come to us. Native people, we must fight for our Brothers and Sisters.”

Gregory Ballenger (Navajo/Diné) is a Studio Arts major at the Institute of American Indian Arts. His piece, entitled Fill the Void, is a boundary-pushing aesthetic statement for the promotion of unity between Indigenous and politically charged spaces. Ballenger depicts the historic Native plight, once heightened by our nation’s founding leadership, while examining the ever-present sociological and constitutional incision that has hindered the progression of Indigenous cultural sovereignty since the settler-colonial era. Ballenger: “My dream is to create a life that is completely liberated from colonial violence and oppression. I use art to fill the philosophical void created by western thought and reasoning.”

A special video installation that was created in collaboration between select students who attend the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Institute of Sainte-Marie in Brussels, Belgium will be introduced by four of the twenty participating artists. This creative collaboration was administered through a program called DIGITAL NATIVES and is facilitated by BOZAR — Center for Fine Arts Brussels and Soul of Nations. DIGITAL NATIVES is an international art-making exchange that connects Native American students and Belgian migrant students for the purpose of examining culture, identity, and displacement. Collaborating Artists: Michael Begay, Melverna Aguilar, Maddie Lamb, Gregory Ballenger, Delaney Keshena, Jaida Grey Eagle, Laouratou Barry, Ufitinema Birekeraho, and Arlette Birekeraho.

Support for this reception was provided by Hobbs Straus Dean and Walker LLP, a national law firm at the forefront of legal issues impacting Indian Country. Support for the exhibition, video installation, and art-exchange was provided by Communities Connecting Heritage, a program that engages underserved communities, empowers youth, and builds partnerships between communities in the U.S. and in key strategic world regions through exchange projects that explore cultural heritage topics. Communities Connecting Heritage is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.

You are cordially invited to a special art reception in honor of

Native American Heritage Month
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
6:00pm to 8:00pm 
Senate Hearing Room 628
Dirksen Senate Office Building 
50 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
R.S.V.P. by Tuesday, November 13, 2018

rsvp@soulofnations.org

(202) 643-2164

ABOUT THE SOUL OF NATIONS

Soul of Nations is 501(c)3 for-purpose organization designed to uplift Indigenous youth and communities through visual art engagement, encouraging academic excellence, and promoting progressive policy research. Soul of Nations is headquartered in Washington, DC and operates a field office in Tucson, Arizona. For press inquiries please contact press@soulofnations.org, +1 202.646.2164. For other inquiries please contact info@soulofnations.org.  If interested in supporting our mission, please click here.