At the Intersection of Tradition and Innovation
At the Intersection of Tradition and Innovation is a series intended to push the boundaries of what is considered "a basket.” Utilizing a foundation of culturally traditional techniques, artist Sarah Sockbeson will fuse new elements, materials & innovations to create a contemporary amalgamation, what she refers to as “modern-traditional Native art.” With primary focuses on sustainability and pushing the boundaries, Sockbeson will reexamine and incorporate materials that are outside of the box, overlooked, or discarded, to create new and exiting works in the hopes of challenging or dispelling narrow definitions/ perceptions/ labeling of Native American art, and present works in new contexts.
The primary idea behind the project’s concept has stemmed from observations Sockbeson has made over the years as a full-time working Native American artist. One is a lack of representation of Native American artworks in the collection of contemporary art institutions and exhibitions. The second is observed generalizations or collectively narrow perspectives of what defines Native American art, and the systematic decline in both traditional practitioners as well as the natural resources that such traditional and cultural practices rely on.
"As a member of the Penobscot tribe, I’m proud to be a bearer of cultural knowledge. Traditional ash & sweetgrass basketry is my primary practice, which has always been an important part of our traditions. I utilize many of the traditional materials & techniques that have been handed down for generations, but my style comes from my own personal perspective & experiences living in today’s world. I incorporate vibrant, modern colors, that intentionally contrast the old with the new, combining natural elements with unique designs in order to achieve a fresh approach to a timeless art form."