Dennis-RedMoon Darkeem

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What is my work about?

I am a visual and performance artist focused on highlighting the importance of the South Bronx community in my art. I am currently working on a series of two and three- dimensional works that include recycling items found in the community and re-purposing them to create fine art. My work is firmly rooted in my Native American background and reflected are many indigenous and traditional motifs. Your grant can provide me the opportunity and resources to continue to develop this body of work and empowering community.

 

Artist Statement

My name is Dennis Redmoon Darkeem. I am inspired to create art work based on the familiar objects that I view through my daily travels. I discover elements in existing architecture and among everyday items found within the home. I ultimately set out to express a meaningful story about events in my life and those found with the communities I work. I utilize different media in the creation of my work. This allows for great versatility and a rich viewer experience as the eye uncovers the multiple layers that often characterize mixed media art.

Since my work as a professional artist has commenced in the early 2000s, it has evolved into critiquing social and political issues affecting US and indigenous Native American culture.   Much of my art has focused on issues like institutionalized racism and classism, jarring stereotypes, and displacement of people of color. As a multi-media artist, I express these motifs through fine art, drawings, paintings, collages, photography, sculpture, and installations.   Incorporating a craftwork aesthetic has connected tradition with the contemporary.   This is prevalent in many of my pieces. I seek to create a discussion through color, texture, symbolism, and geometric designs. My work evokes a historical memory and questions the status quo. Art has become a conduit connecting my artistic ideas and concepts to the public realm. As a Maroon artist living in New York City, my work reflects and is representative of my life’s experiences. My work is not in a vacuum that crosses boundaries of culture, identity, and perception of self. I strive to be the voice for unheard voices.

Cultural acceptance is an issue affecting many communities in the New York City area. While milestones have been made world-wide, negative stereotypes and biases often still plague the minds of individuals daily. I have encountered many racial biases from others as a brown-skinned, mixed-blood Native American man in my travels nationally and throughout the Caribbean and Central America. Being from New York, there is a small community of Native Americans who, like me, dispel myths about Native Americans and what we look like. Media and Hollywood have greatly influenced people’s perceptions of Native Americans keeping them ignorant to Native Americans who are dark and brown-skinned. This has often led to me having to explain to others, even others of Native American descent, about my own Native American background. I have encountered individuals who want me to prove my “Indian-ness” to them.

As a mixed-blood Native American and African American artist living in the south Bronx, I have found a voice in my community. I enjoy using my art to bring my community together. In 2000 and 2004, I produced two mixed-media performance art projects in the Bronx at The Point’s CDC space “Live at the Edge”. The performances titled, “Clothesline” and “The Love and Fear Experience,” included visual art, dance, music, film, spoken word, and photography. The performances were viewed by more than 500 people. The performances focused on themes of coming of age in the Bronx, rituals and tradition, child abuse, race and sexual identity, religion, and self-pride. I feel that my past successful experiences would assist me in working and creating a platform for social change. I can bring voice to a community that is often rendered voiceless and marginalized by its own Native American community. I have also worked with the Bronx Museum of Art on its first community art award grant where I collaborated with many artist and performers. I learned the skills of Augusto Boal, a Brazilian theatre director, writer and politician. He was the founder of “Theatre of the Oppressed”; a theatrical form originally used in radical popular education movements.

Through art, I have explored and educated people on the issues faced by people of color and people living in low income communities.   I believe that everyone has a story to share and from these stories we have a connection. I feel these stories are building blocks to help our communities and change our environment. This year I have been working on a body of work titled, “Standing on Shaky Ground” these works represent Native and Black struggles. Much of the history of Native Americans on the East Coast is said to be dead. I want to show that we are very much alive, resilient, and connected through tribal customs and traditions.

Education
Fine Art & Photography, Pratt Institute, New York, NY, BFA, 2006

 

Accolades
2015 Bronx Net Television Artist Interview

2013   Bronx Artist Day Proclamation with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr,

2011 Indian Arts & Crafts Association Member- Artist

2010  New York Daily News Write up ‘’ Never give up your Roots ‘’

 

Residence

2015
Ace Hotel Artist Residence

2014
The Laundromat Project Bronx NY

2013
Brooklyn Friends School Brooklyn NY
Arteles Creative center ,  Haukijärvi Finland

2012
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics’ EMERGENYC

2009
Vermont studio center Johnson, Vermont

2008
International Center of Photography NY
Hall Farms Artist Fellowship & Residence Vermont

 

Artist Talks & Panels
2015
Shifting Sands ‘New Dynamics in the Bronx Art Scene ‘ Hosted by No Longer Empty
Emerging Leaders of New York Arts Creative Conversation at the Bronx Music Heritage center lab
New School Social Science class Artist Q&A with the Laundromat Project at the Kelly street Garden

2013
Bronx Museum of the Arts Bronx Artist Talk
Grants and Awards
Artist Fund Grant NY 2015
Citizens Committee for NYC Grant 2014
BCA Community Artist Grant, 2010-2014
Bronx Museum, Artists in the Marketplace, 2010-2011
BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own), 2009
Change Inc. Grant, 2007
Bronx Council on the Arts Fellowship, Art Handler, 2005
International Center of Photography Fellowship, 2001
Mark Rothko Fellowship With the MoMA Scholarship Award, 1999
Price Waterhouse Award, 1995

 

Public and Private Collections
2013 The New York Women Foundation with the Bronx Museum of the Arts
2009 Art Politics Magazine
2008-2006 Mayor’s Office of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
2007 Allentown Native American Museum, Pennsylvania
2006 Three Rivers Council American Indian Museum, Pennsylvania

 

Selected Group Exhibitions
2015
Peoples Protest, Metropolitan College of NY Bronx NY Curated by Natasha R Johnson
After Afropolitan Weeksville Heritage Center Curated by Desiree Gordon &Aisha bell-Caldwell

2014
Trade Blanket/ Manta DeIntercambio Bronx NY Casita Maria for the Arts Curated by Christine Licata
The Other/Under Side   Bronx Arts Space   Bronx NY Curated by Linda Cunningham
Hands Up ,Down Shoot   Saint Louis University Museum of Art   Curated by Freida L Wheaton
I KAN DO DAT Skylight Gallery Brooklyn NY Curated By Daniel Simmons & Oshun Layne
Main Land_MIX The New Museum NYC Curated by Leenda Bonilla Pagan

2013
Curate NYC Top 150 Entries Artist   Rush Art Gallery NYC
Native American Edition Bronx Museum of the Arts   NYC
Harlem Art Factory Fest Chashama NYC
Bronx Arts Space Bronx NY
Degree of Privacy   Forward flux Theater Lab NYC
Art with a Purpose   Rush Art Gallery NYC
I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours ABC No Rio Gallery NYC Curated By Jason Luna
Dimensions Variable Multiracial Identity Rush Arts Gallery NYC   Curated By Gabriel de Guzman

2012
Wreath Interpretations The Arsenal Gallery NY
The Festival of Frist People Howland Cultural Center   Beacon NY
AiOP Art in odd Places NYC
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics’ EMERGENYC
Art Auction Benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. and honoring Peggy Cooper Cafritz

2011
Wave Hill /Bronx Museum “Bronx Calling” The first Biennial
Bronx Skate park Exhibit Public Art Project “Mapping Skate Parks’’
Traveling Exhibit, “Land-fill Art”

2010
The Millbrook Gallery, New Hampshire, “Native American Artists in the Northeast”

2009
Longwood Art Gallery, New York, “ANTHEM: An All-American Dystopia”
Queens Museum of Art, New York, “Image of Death”
Ulster Community College Gallery, New York, “FOOD”

2008
St. Lawrence County Arts Council, New York, “Arts for Healing Art Show”
Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania, “Unheard Voices”

2007
Manhattan Borough President’s Office Art Show, New York

2006
The Point Gallery, New York, “The Love and Fear Experience”

2005
The Point Gallery, New York, “Clotheslines”
The Point Gallery, New York, “Urban Life”
Art and Design School Gallery, New York, “Students Body of Work”
Bronx Academy for Art and Dance ( BAAD), New York, “Blacktino”

2004
NAACP- Actso Arts winner NYC / Maryland / Ohio
Manhattan Borough Presidents Office NYC

2001
4W Circle of Art and Enterprise, New York, “In the Eyes of ”

2000
West Side Arts Coalition   NYC

1999
ICP Gallery, New York, “People and Fashion”