Clearing of the sky cloud woman. Misanaquadikwe, in Ojibwe, is Tashina Lee Emery’s Native American name. The one who can clear a cloudy day. Her optimism comes from her upbringing and being raised traditionally on the rural Keweenaw Bay Indian Community reservation of Michigan. Tashina navigates the edge of two worlds and developed fluidity between the two: the small town Native girl from the rez and the city cosmopolitan, now in New York City. Her work is the raw edges, at the where those two worlds meet. The attention to each space, the blessing to move about these spaces, but also the dangerousness that exists of power on the rez and the western world separately and combined. At the limit of each, there in the middle is where she doesn’t entirely feel apart. Representing that rawness, her own uncensored truth, and purposeful imperfections is distinct in all creations. Tashina’s originals are the transparencies, lasting and hold an overwhelming presence of history and spirit. The dealings of colonization through healing narratives, she shares stories, jewelry, and fashion in intimate and tangible settings, because the work is no longer hers but for the viewer, the wearer to discover their voice, their strength they’ve always deserved. She writes agency. Teaches agency. Sculpts agency. Sews agency. Weave agency. Beads agency. Creates agency. And shares agency. Tashina clears the sky of clouds.
Four Medicine Medallion
Asemaa. Tobacco. Giizhik. Cedar.
Mashkodewashk. Sage. Wiingashk. Sweet Grass.
Although ceremonies differ from First Nation to First Nation, basic beliefs remain similar. Our medicine bundles carry sacred knowledge and contain ingredients to spiritual well being. These powerful religious objects represent faith in a tangible way and transcend into modernity through cultural exchange and societal development. Traditional Healing is the restoring of balance to the mind, body, spirit and emotions. There needs to be harmony and balance in us just as there is in all of Creation. When you start on a healing journey, you are making a commitment to help yourself, your family and your community. Great respect is shown for the plants that are used in this specific healing. The "Four Medicines Medallion" is an embellishment that contributes to the physical act of finding faith in a time when cultural identities are becoming blurry. The unique medicine pouch is a bicultural composite of an exchange and revamped further to a multifaceted object set into today’s medicinal context. There is a need for cultural support in our new contemporary setting and this pedant defines that.
Tobacco, Cedar, Sage, Sweetgrass, Leather, Acrylic
3" x 9"
Mujeres de Maiz Annual Visual Art Exhibit at
March 9 – April 5, 2019
Los Angeles, CA
The silks transparency, the soft touch of see through that flows the body through fluid movement. I created seven chiffon pieces to hold the seven women of my inner circle of strength and struggle. Mikah and Aubree. Jailyn. Sydni. Ginger. Shani. Jeanne. Victoria. Seven humans. Seven bodies. The resilience of existing. Embellished with pieces of handwriting from my mother that interweaves through the Ojibwe Floral of the woodlands. A statement of survival, the ones still here. A celebration they deserved the representation of their vulnerability through time and to capture that through my words and my lens. I accurately captured portraits, the moments of self on my place of origin Zeba, Michigan. A pedestal of the hardship Native women face and still succeed, the questions I face watching them. I needed to know their cared for, the same kindness they show other, their love extents villages. The fragility is the mask though, the women of my family are humble which I expose deliberately through poetics of being away home, a distant to mesmerize of how I was raised, validate the strength I carry comes from the collective power of the women who surround me.
27" x 18"
Voices - Indigeneity in NYC
Kimmel Center of New York University
New York City, NY
March - September 2019
Language: The Human Quintessence
The centerpiece of our collection is a large mural on our fourth floor. Mark Tucker, Art Director for a neighborhood student program, the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, and founder of Festifools, a popular local event, invited students to design and create a 1,235-square foot mural. This mural is now installed in the 4th Floor Atrium at Palmer Commons, a location visible from many positions both inside and outside the building. Tucker explains that in designing the mural, several students were guided by the theme of language. More importantly, though, all of the students who created this mural “exercised their visual language skills throughout.” The title of the mural, 'Language: The Quintessence,' reflects this focus. The vibrant mural provides a creative and transformative ambiance in one of our favorite spots in our building and is one of our most ambitious and striking examples of community-based student work.
Acrylic Paint on Canvas
1,235 square foot
Palmer Commons of University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Winter 2012 - Present