Shifting Sands


'Dan Taulapapa McMullin Residency at the de Young,' 2010- Photo by Catherine Herrera

Its November in San Francisco. American Indian Film Festival is currently showing a host of great Native and Indigenous filmmakers’ work spanning a range of topics and genres. It’s inspiring to see such great work out there. I wish I could make it to every film.

I am about to go into hibernation as I prepare to edit the ‘Relations’ project and the installation piece. I have been reading, watching, studying more about installations in general.

I am currently preparing a presentation for a new installation, Memorial of Light, for a local school, studying materials for this envisioned outdoor installation.

, exploring the best way to share the themes of this installation – belonging, home and identity –  topics I’ve often approached in my work over the years.

I am extremely excited about the venue – the de Young Tower – and feel honored to be the first artist to show in the Tower. I feel though a real responsibility to that space, and to ensure that the piece draws viewers in for a closer look. Installation started out as an alternative to the long process of making documentaries indy-style, often, self-funded with donations from supportive individuals. Installation was an immediate medium in comparison, and like muralism, offers the potential for really connecting with the audience. That connection is the big focus right now for me. How to make sure that the installation and its pieces of sound, images and interactive elements meld into the space, carry the viewer to a special time and place. So, anyway, that is the goal, let’s see how things unfold.

Recently, I presented a brief update on the ‘Relations’ project, summarizing what I had accomplished on the project so far, and next steps. The community I am working with in making this documentary are a community of very talented artists themselves, people I respect greatly for all they have achieved in reaching towards their own artistic goals. I feel very honored for all that I have learned from each of the NAPAC committee members. I was quite nervous but I am grateful for the very warm reception and votes of approval as the project moving into the next phase of interviews with each committee member.

I also gave a brief update on my film ‘Witness the Healing.’ Someone asked last week how the film is coming along given the difficulty in broaching the subject with older family members. I felt vulnerable about this topic, yet its one I grapple with and give gratitude because ultimately, the process helps in thinking about where to take the film next. I am blogging about the film and its process at

Late Fall and Winter are good months to put one’s head down and get to work. I need the space and time, I feel a pressing need to prove myself to myself, this installation plan is the most expansive I have done to date so I feel the need to finish very early so as to work through any kinks. I am scheduled to test screen in January, and again in February 2011. This project has already pushed me so much to develop and grow more as an artist and human being.

I have many people waiting on work from me. I find my internal beat shift, and wonder how to share that internal clock with others running on a calendar set to a different time. I pray that people will trust and know, but I wonder, when I myself doubt, how can I expect that of another?

I had the great occasion to share time with another de Young artist-in-resident, Dan Taulapapa. You can view a few photos I took, in between shooting the two-hour opening and closing ceremonies. Dan is one of the artists highlighted in ‘Relations.’ More than anything, I appreciated speaking and talking with an experienced artist whose career spans filmmaking, writing and painting. Together with independent curator Giles Peterson, Dan’s month-long residency brought together so many artists of the Niu Urban Pasifik Diaspora. Learn more about Dan’s work and the artists who Giles Peterson and Dan Taulapapa exhibited at the de Young Museum in October 2010.

'Dan Taulapapa McMullin Residency at the de Young,' 2010

See more photos here.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s