An artist book curved out on display.

Lena Wright, "Origins," 2019; Cardstock, Strathmore paper, book cover, book board.

Lena Wright

Graduate Fellowships, 2020 - 2021
San Francisco Art Institute

A portrait of a person against a light background.

Artist Statement

I engage with what it means to be Indigenous and alive in the present. My work uses the specifically gendered objects of my culture, such as Yurok basket caps and Paiute shawls, and contemporary materials, such as digital renderings and sculptures to inspire a new understanding of the gaze, lineage, and the self through a humanizing, Indigenous knowledge system. 

Honoring native women is central to my work. Invoking the presence of native women, I am able to demonstrate the resilience of my community. I contrast my traditional cultural roots with the present day to reveal the harmony of both, and to practice decolonization through an understanding of that continuity, rather than agreeing with the presumed or enforced discontinuity that is the mechanism of colonization. Having the ability to merge my experiences within my different tribes allows me to better comprehend the past, reveal absences within the present, and construct the future.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I intend on continuing my work of conveying contemporary Indigenous femininity, specifically within the Muwekma Ohlone people. With the available resources of the Bay Area and the local Indigenous communities, I intend to generate a plethora of paintings that extends my work within sculptural paintings beyond my own self, and represent the many nations that come from the California area.