Map Grant Work Sample
Phase 2 of 3
‘Threads and Trails’ is a three-part series based on research and self-investigation to seek understanding and elucidate connections to women of the past. For the Map Fund proposal, we seek support for the second phase.
This series is directed and produced by Erica Larsen-Dockray and Cybele Moon. It builds on their previous works exploring reproductive issues where sculptural costuming, installation, projection, moving image and live performance intertwine.
Phase one was based on a singular contemporary artist (Moon), her connection to Slovakia, its oral history, traditions and textiles. Phase two broadens the scope to five women artists connecting their histories to the conquest of the American West and Indigenous dispossession. Phase three is currently in development as an open source virtual story collective generated by an extensive audience.
Phase two will be exhibited October 2023 - February 2024 at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The 2,057 square foot gallery will be activated with three dimensional, two dimensional, immersive, performative, and sound based creations. These new works are informed by historical documents specific to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, or White women of the 19th century.
Following are the descriptions of each artist's contribution to the multimedia and performative exhibition.
Stephanie Coley centers her work on Black women homesteaders and cowgirls. She identifies with the difficulties often experienced by people of color seeking information on their family history. Stephanie is re-imagining her own journey to Western Nebraska from her family’s roots in Mississippi and North Carolina. Using fairytales and lyrical music as the conduit, Stephanie confronts erasure of African Americans and the same efforts to contort Black identity today. She is creating wall pieces in the form of self-portraits, poetry, and lyrics, and will perform original music inspired by these women. Her work explores themes of identity, erasure, isolation, segregation, bias, and gender.
Eve LaFountain (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) centers her work on Indigenous women. Eve is exploring photographic printing on antique ledger book paper, a process she developed in tribute to the ledger book art of the Plains people. She is planning to incorporate her processes of creating “photographic ghosts” of the trail into her work, as well as rituals in beadwork. Her work explores identity, history, Indigenous futurism, feminism, ghosts, magic, and her mixed Native American and Jewish heritage.
Erica Larsen-Dockray centers her work on single women, mothers, or women who were widowed along the wagon trails. She feels connected to these women through her own journey west from Scottsbluff, Nebraska where many wagon trails converged. In her work, Erica will summon the symbol of the covered wagon as a 15’ x 7’ x 7’ tunnel which viewers can then walk under and around. On the tunnel, Erica is designing projections breaking down the RGBA channels with images from archival photographs, diary entries, historical fiction, charcoal and salt animation. Her work explores the ‘Found Family’, gender inequity, upward mobility, and search for belonging.
Cybele Moon will collaborate with Erica Larsen-Dockray on the covered wagon. Cybele employs her background in textiles to weave historical and modern themes into the covering of the wagon. Materials such as canvas, calico, and plastic packaging expand the context while creating an experimental surface for projection. Cybele will also produce dramaturgical visuals documenting biographical information about each artist, as well as research sources used in the creation of the show.
Marissa Magdalena Sykes centers her work on Indigenous women in California and Los Angeles. The juxtaposition of Marissa’s farming community roots and current urban backdrop inspires her work. Marissa is incorporating the embroidery skills passed down from her grandmother to stitch on blueprints of Los Angeles. She is also conceiving performative aspects which question the norms of physical and social space. Her work explores the concept of California as a source, and a destination.
Threads and Trails will incorporate both pre-recorded and live performance. Pre-recorded examples include; voice over narratives, original song recordings, and spoken word poetry. Live performances will take place on opening night and a First Friday event during the exhibition, with a potential for more. Currently, the artists are exploring interpretations of historic rituals and live beadwork and embroidery as well as a live vocal performance of Stephanie’s original songs. The group is also concepting a public dance piece with Susan Levine Ourada, Associate Professor of Dance and Director of Dance Studies at the University of Nebraska and performed by her students.
Our goals are to highlight the experiences of women from the past and present in a space that is immersive, enlightening, inclusive, and transformative. Where audience members
join us in honoring the challenges of women throughout time, and support a future where gender does not limit agency.