NDN Girlhood – Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii)

NDN Girlhood – Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii)

NDN Girlhood – Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii)

Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii) [Blackfeet Tribe of Montana] has a current practice as a visual artist that works to both center and reclaim her own personal narrative regarding the processes of navigating mental health, cultural identity, and reclamation of space as an Indigenous woman. Her body of work primarily consists of acrylic on canvas self-portraits and highlight the complexities of engaging in ancient cultural practices as a Blackfeet woman in 2024. Through her portrait paintings she reclaims a sense of autonomy and agency over her own representation and narrative as a young Blackfeet woman who grew up living out her traditional way of life. There is a unique responsibility and power specific to Blackfoot women that she works to showcase in her paintings. Her work reminds Blackfoot women, girls, and Aa’woowaakii (Two-Spirit individuals) that they are more than this inflicted extraction and intergenerational trauma that they face. Martin expresses, “prior to colonization and today, we continue to hold pivotal roles in our community that can only be fulfilled by our unique gifts and knowledge. Blackfeet women are still rich in resiliency and these cultural ways of being, we deserve to have space held for us where our voices can be centered, and our beauty can be celebrated. I work to achieve this through my artwork that visually reflects this experience”.

Evelyn Mikayla Martin (Itsooaakii) [Blackfeet Tribe of Montana] graduated with honors from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA) with a Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies with a minor in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Mikayla was named to the University of Washington Dean’s List, is a member of the National Collegiate Scholars Honor Society and is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.  Mikayla is an art educator who works with Indigenous women, girls, and youth in her workshops to encourage participants to center their cultural identities and healing through visual arts. Itsooaakii creates acclaimed vibrant self-portraits, billboards, and projects of reclamation.

In 2022, Mikayla partnered with Nordstrom Canada and was the first Indigenous Visual Artist to sell her artwork in-store and collaborate with the Nordstrom Company.  Mikayla was commissioned by The Bows artist-run centre and had her work displayed on a billboard in Calgary, Alberta. This work encouraged the greater community to locate themselves and acknowledge that they are on Blackfoot traditional territory.  Mikayla’s paintings have been installed in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and Canada.  Most notably, her paintings have been installed at the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA), Center on Contemporary Art (Seattle, WA), Arts Commons Window Galleries: Portraits of a Piikani Woman (Calgary, AB), Stride Gallery (Calgary, AB) and La Macina di San Cresci (Tuscany, Italy).

Mikayla was selected to be one of the keynote speakers of the Women’s March Seattle (January 2019). During the march, Mikayla spoke about immediately initiating an action plan for all people to join forces to end the global crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Date:April 6th, 2024  -  June 1st, 2024

Location:Casa - Saokitapi Gallery

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Image of the cover of the Call Fall Program guide 2024 that is purple with watercolour pumpkins

Casa Program Guide

The Casa Program Guide is produced three times a year; Winter, Spring/Summer and Fall. Inside the guide find listings for the upcoming class and workshop schedule, upcoming exhibitions at The Gallery, information about artists in residence and seasonal events in the building. Program guides are free. Pick-up guides at Casa or at facilities throughout the city.