title: Water Wisdom
artist: Debra Yepa-Pappan (Jemez Pueblo & Korean)
medium: digital print on assembled antique ledger paper 2017, signed limited edition of 30.
paper size: 19.2cm x 24.2cm
This print ‘Water Wisdom’ depicts a Jemez Pueblo dancer (daughter of the artist) dressed for a traditional ceremonial dance. This image references the prayers and support of the Jemez Pueblo people, alongside other tribes, for the Standing Rock Indian Reservation during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests of 2016-2017.
“I am a contemporary artist of Jemez Pueblo and Korean descent. I was born in Korea in 1971 and came to the U.S. when I was 5 months old. I was enrolled as Jemez Pueblo before I became a U.S. citizen. I have lived in Chicago since I was 1 year old. Throughout my life, my family and I would visit Jemez often. I went to school at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and graduated with an Associates of Fine Arts degree in 2 and 3 dimensional art in 1992.
My medium of choice is photography, though I don’t refer to myself as a photographer. In my art, I explore the issues of identity and Indian stereotypes. I utilize digital imaging software, but my true passion is with B&W darkroom photography.
Living in Chicago, I am influenced by contemporary and urban culture. A lot of my work, specifically my digital images of myself with my certificate of Indian blood, deal with the issue of my own identity. Growing up in an urban environment where every culture in the world exists, where different Indian Nations from around the country exist you find yourself questioning who you are and where you belong in the whole scheme of things. Fortunately, because of my parents and their own strong ties to their cultures, I have a strong sense of self. I know who I am and where my people come from. I could pinpoint exactly where my ancestors come from on both sides of my family.” Debra Yepa-Pappan