Mapping Coyote Black · Natalie Ball

Following the critical and popular success of the Nerman Museum’s recent exhibition of its estimable contemporary American Indian art collection, the Nerman will present installations by Gina Adams and Natalie Ball within three of the museum’s second-floor galleries.

Chiloquin, Oregon-based artist Natalie Ball (whose heritage includes Modoc and African-American ancestry) will install “Mapping Coyote Black” within the museum’s Oppenheimer New Media Gallery. Her immersive installation also employs quilts (albeit dramatically altered) as an essential element of her work.

According to Ball, “Critical to the narrative of my installation is the character of Coyote. Coyote is famous, everyone knows from countless oral and recorded stories that Coyote is a trickster. I offer Coyote to viewers as a woman, the avatar of myself as artist. She is independent, shameless, hungry, able to switch forms and she has all Coyote's traditional qualities and more. In my installation, she signifies what cannot be contained by performances of gender, race and ethnicity. Her visual voice pieces together historical and lived experiences into speculative narratives. These narratives engage political fantasy with fluid concepts of time. Through this installation’s content, Coyote tells stories where she is the catalyst (she would say ‘star’). “Mapping Coyote Black” invents the future through the past, reimagining and tricking you into seeing a new visual genealogy to disrupt the mainstream definition of Indian, a definition too limited for the complexity of Native lives.

“Mapping Coyote Black” is an installation that engages theories that challenge mainstream ideas of indignity, race and ethnicity; specifically lives, like my own, at the intersection of native and black. Native lives and black lives are often lived within racial intersections that remain hidden or unacknowledged for various reasons. This installation challenges assumptions about the limits of indignity and blackness and engages the viewer through mapping, refusal, desire, revenge and haunting.”