SARAH SENSE
Artwork

 

Cowgirls and Indians
Statement

Cowgirls and Indians is a decade old project of layering images that I’ve collected for years, including photographs of my two personas: The Cowgirl and the Indian Princess, Hollywood posters, my Choctaw grandmother’s memoirs handwritten over photographs, and Chitimacha landscapes. This body of work was originally explored in 2004, but with the recent American political landscape, I have found a new relevance with the imagery, questioning: uses and misuses of Cowboy and Indian imagery in pop culture, guns, women being taken, and European influence including taking of Native people or a stereotype to Europe. I am weaving together Hollywood posters, antique posters, wild west show imagery with my Grandmother’s stories, family archives and Chitimacha landscapes using Choctaw and Chitimacha basket patterns. My grandma’s memoirs tell stories of what it was like to grow up in southeast United States in the early 20th century. The serene landscapes of the bayou against these words reveal the timelessness of the landscape as it remains a part of the reservation and history. Mixing images representing the preservation of land with the stories of historical struggles give a glimpse into a realistic history and present. Woven together with Hollywood and pop culture interpretation, questions the misconceptions of differing realities.

 

Sarah Sense is a visual artist working with traditional weaving techniques and digital photographic processes to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional works that integrate travel journals, familial archives, landscape photography, and found imagery. Sense is from Sacramento, California and currently lives in Bristol, England. She received a BFA from CSU Chico (2003), and a MFA from Parsons the New School for Design, New York (2005). From 2005 – 2007 Sense was the curator and director of the American Indian Community House Gallery. Since 2005, she has been exhibiting her woven photographs. In 2010, she traveled to South America to research her first international project, Weaving the Americas, debuting in Valdivia, Chile (2011). The project included over 60 artist interviews in 12 countries and resulted in the catalogue, Weaving the Americas, A Search for Native Art in the Western Hemisphere. Following was Weaving Water, a project exploring Indigenous art in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia with an exhibition debuting in Bristol, England (2013). While living in Ireland (2014-2016) Sense developed Grandmother’s Stories (2015), a collaboration with her Choctaw Grandmother. Remember (2016), is inspired by family, particularly motherhood, Ireland and German family archives. Sense continues to combine historical references and ancestry with her landscape photography and weaving practice. International artist residencies have been a major part of her studio practice and include: Smithsonian Artist Fellowship for the Chitimacha Reservation; Banff Centre, Canada; Arizona State University; Santa Rosa Factoría de Arte, Santiago, Chile; Rainmaker Gallery, Bristol, England. Collections include: Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina; Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana Museum, Charenton, Louisiana; Choctaw Headquarters, Cypress Bayou Casino, Charenton, Louisiana; de saisset Museum Santa Clara University, Eaton, Corporate Collection, Cleveland, Ohio; Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, Mexico City, Mexico; Smithsonian National Museum of the America Indian, New York, New York; Schingoethe Center of Aurora University, Aurora, Illinois; Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Minnesota, University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City Weltkulturen Museum (World Cultures Museum), Frankfurt, Germany. Private collections: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States of America