Hopi Artist Mikaela Shafer Showcases “Matrilineal Memory” in Debut Solo Exhibition

April 24, 2024

Makaela Shafer

Bacavi, Hopi Nation – In a celebration of heritage, artistry, and the enduring legacy of Hopi culture, acclaimed artist Mikaela Shafer is set to unveil her eagerly anticipated solo exhibition, “Matrilineal Memory,” at The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation in Portland, Oregon. A member of the Coyote Clan from Bacavi, Shafer’s deeply personal and culturally resonant artworks offer a window into the rich tapestry of Hopi tradition.

With the debut scheduled for May 10, 2024, anticipation is mounting among art enthusiasts, scholars, and members of the Hopi community alike. Shafer’s journey as an artist has been imbued with the spirit of her ancestors, drawing inspiration from the timeless narratives passed down through generations.

“Matrilineal Memory” serves as a testament to Shafer’s profound connection to her roots and the powerful influence of matriarchal lineage within Hopi society. Through a diverse array of mediums including painting, sculpture, and mixed media, she explores themes of kinship, resilience, and the sacred bond between mother and child.

Central to Shafer’s artistic vision is the concept of continuity, embodied in the enduring wisdom carried forth by Hopi women. Drawing from her own experiences and familial connections, she weaves a narrative thread that transcends time and speaks to the universal human experience.

“Matrilineal Memory” invites viewers to embark on a journey of introspection and cultural exploration. Each piece serves as a vessel for collective remembrance, inviting contemplation on the interplay between tradition and modernity, heritage and innovation.

As the first solo exhibition of its kind by a Hopi artist at The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, “Matrilineal Memory” represents a milestone moment for Indigenous representation in the contemporary art world. Shafer’s work transcends boundaries, offering a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of Hopi culture while fostering cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.

The debut of “Matrilineal Memory” promises to be a landmark event, celebrating the resilience, creativity, and enduring spirit of the Hopi people. As Shafer’s evocative artworks take center stage, they serve as a testament to the enduring legacy of matrilineal wisdom and the power of art to illuminate the shared human experience.

From the Native Arts and Culture website:

Matrilineal Memory is an exploration of memory, emotion, and cultural preservation. A solo exhibition of 2023 LIFT artist, Mikaela Shafer (Hopi), it features paintings, poetry, and installation. Through the use of collagraph, dyeing, sewing, and layering on paintings, she intertwines her practice with her culture, drawing inspiration from her Hopi heritage. Shafer’s unique approach incorporates unconventional tools, including dried corn, creating intricate patterns and textures, including works printed on chiffon. Shafer’s work becomes a practice of facing head on memories and processing, grieving, and ultimately healing. Each painting unearths a new memory; each poem serves as a conduit for emotional release. Memories are powerful. A smell, a sound, or a flavor can send you spiraling down a rabbit hole of a moment you’ve long forgotten. – Mikaela Shafer

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