Indigenous women and girls are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violence in their lifetime than any other demographic.
Indigenous men are 4 times more likely.
3 in 4 indigenous people experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
The most disturbing part is that there is only a 6% prosecution rate and most cases are under-prosecuted if they are prosecuted at all. These are the numbers which are being reported, there are so many more who are not or who are mis-classified.
The majority of perpetrators of these crimes are non-indigenous and this is happening both on and off the reservations and all over Turtle Island (North America). The US and Canadian Government have done very little so far to address these issues and most of the cases go unsolved and often uninvestigated to this day. This crisis does not only affect enrolled indigenous people or those living on reservations and in remote areas. The families coming to me are from all over Turtle Island and encompass all different Indigenous backgrounds and locations. This is a result of a lot of complicated issues which affect us all, from inter generational trauma, male dominated extractive industries, human trafficking, domestic violence and more. There is not one easy answer or solution for this. It is a complex issue that has its roots in the legal language set forth by the US and Canadian Governments and is echoed in policies which are continued to this day.
"This project is different then any other project I have done before. Immediately upon realizing it would go on past one painting I knew that it needed to be something I did not personally profit from. Each family, survivor and activist who I work with to create these images trusts me with their or their loved ones likeness and I take that very seriously. This project is not about me, which is why I don't talk about myself when discussing this work. This project is about each person and their story. If I am asked to speak about the project I will always focus on the stories I am entrusted to share and often hand the platform to the person or family. Often these families and survivors and activists are not heard. If me painting these paintings is providing them with a platform to discuss this topic then I should provide that platform to them.
This is a very sensitive subject for many people which is why this message is so important.
I do not seek to speak for another person or family and their individualized experience with this horrific crisis so when you look at the paintings I ask you to listen to what they tell you. I am seeking to provide a space and a facilitation for those silenced to be heard.
When a family or individual first approaches me about doing a piece I am always met with "how much does it cost". The answer to that is always free. I also give as many free prints as requested when the final painting is completed. The family or individual gives written consent for their or their loved ones likeness to be painted by me. They give written permission for me to exhibit the paintings to raise awareness about MMIWG/P as well as share the images on social media and for any promotional information about the exhibitions. They choose what is included and not included for information, what they want to share about their story or their loved ones story. Some share a lot and some share almost nothing. I feel its important to respect this.
Under no circumstances will I ever make T-shirts, mugs or any other tacky disrespectful item with a portrait I am entrusted to paint. I also do not license my images to anyone else for use in this way. I allow the individual I painted or the family to use the image however they see fit however as its only appropriate. I only ask that they uphold the standard of integrity and honor that I try to. If you see images of these paintings reproduced anywhere please contact me here and provide me with a link to where it is seen. I have legal council for these circumstances.
Once the painting is complete families and individuals who I work with have the choice to opt in or out for making prints of the painting available for sale. They give written consent to sell prints with the sole purpose of using those funds to purchase the free prints I give to families, pay for paint, canvas, frames, shipping expenses and other necessary expenses involved in undergoing a project of this magnitude. But its important to note that I never come remotely close to breaking even on the cost of creating and exhibiting the works.
Each family or individual gives written consent for the paintings to eventually be sold or donated as applicable. They understand that when sold a percentage goes to various MMIWG/P charities and a percentage goes to keeping the project going.
It is immeasurably important to me to honor the trust these people give me when entrusting me to paint them or their loved one. This is about healing for me and I hope it can be about healing for them as well.
MMIWG/P isn't about just one group of indigenous people. It isn't limited to reservations or remote areas, it isn't limited by tribal enrollment or gender. So the people I paint also reflect this. They come to me from all different corners of North America with similar stories of pain and they all deserve the same care from me in honoring them.
MMIWG/P is about families and real people and so is this project. As you look through the images please keep that in mind. I will be updating information about each portrait as I gain permission from families to do so.
If you would like yourself or a loved one to be painted for this project all you need to do it message me through this website in the message tab. Once you make contact I will explain again the process and we will finalize the written consent. Then all I need is an images or image of yourself or your loved one to work from and I will add you/them to my cue. I always have about 20-30 in my cue at all times so I make no guarantees when I will complete a portrait. However I try to keep a steady pace. " -Nayana
How can you help???-
I do not accept monetary donations. Instead I accept supplies
The following are the supplies I use and always need to continue this work-
Liquitex or Golden (Golden preferred) brand heavy body acrylic paint in the following colors-
-Cadmium red medium
ANY size or shape canvas, and/or stretcher bars and raw canvas.
Higher quality brushes, detail brushes are in the highest demand for me.
You can send supplies, or have them direct shipped from a supplier to-
PO Box 573
Athol, MA 01331
Supplies only please!!