SAINT AUGUSTINE. – The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum announced a forthcoming exhibition of work by artist Sky Hopinka entitled “Around the Edge of Encircling Lake” set for Nov. 2 – Dec. 8. Events will begin on Friday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m., with a brief walkthrough of the exhibition and a reading by the artist. An opening reception will follow, continuing until 8 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
The exhibition will include three videos: “Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer” (2018), “Fainting Spells” (2018), and “Jáaji Approximately” (2015). Each work is a constellation of stories carefully woven together through image, sound, narration, and text. Hopinka’s practice revolves around his personal experience of Indigenous homeland and landscape, and as such his work mines memory, language and his Ho-Chunk cultural heritage. The exhibition’s title, “Around the Edge of Encircling Lake,” takes its name from the Ho-Chunk way of describing the movement around the boundaries of the earth, or the “encircling lake.”
Hopinka’s videos have a surreal, otherworldly quality that reinforce the “play between the known and the unknowable,” a conceptual framework that unites much of his work. He employs various techniques to further achieve conceptual interplay, such as layering and superimposing images, using multiple audio sources, and by utilizing both written and spoken texts.
The exhibition will include the premier of the artist’s newest work, “Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer.” This video includes footage shot at sites such as the Castillo de San Marcos (formerly Fort Marion) and the Saint Augustine Historical Society Research Library during Hopinka’s artist residency in February and August 2018.
“Jáaji Approximately” (Jáaji is a “near translation for addressing father in in the Hočak language”) brings together audio recordings of his father, a former powwow singer, and footage of the landscape that they both have traveled separately. Utilizing recordings that span 10 years from 2005 to 2015, this piece evokes Hopinka’s search for familial connection through memory and recollection, and gives credence to the idea of wandering as a path to knowledge.
In the three-channel video installation “Fainting Spells,” Hopinka imagines a myth for the Xąwįska, the Indian Pipe Plant, which was traditionally used by the Ho-Chunk to revive someone who has fainted. The artist juxtaposes images of different landscapes with scrolling text that performs as a sort of correspondence, or evidence of knowledge passed down. The result is a mesmerizing and deeply moving piece that speaks of “youth, learning, lore and departure,” that further emphasizes the significance of homeland and landscape.
While Hopinka’s works derive from a very personal position, he said they can also be considered as a “proposition for what Indigenous cinema could be.” His work suggests a way to think about how to be in this world, and skillfully allows room for multiple narratives while carving out a space for voices outside the dominant culture to be heard.
Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, Calif., Portland, Ore., Milwaukee, Wis., and is currently based out of Cambridge, Mass. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. He received his bachelor’s degree from Portland State University in liberal arts and his master’s in film, video, animation, and new genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest, and Projections. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He was awarded jury prizes at the Onion City Film Festival, the More with Less Award at the 2016 Images Festival, the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, the New Cinema Award at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and the Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists in the Emerging artist category for 2018.
The CEAM thanked the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (National Park Service), and the Saint Augustine Historic Society Research Library for allowing the artist access to their sites and collections.
In Feb. 2018, Sky Hopinka was the CEAM Artist in Residence. The CEAM expressed their gratitude to The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida for their support of the residency through a grant from the Dr. JoAnn Crisp-Ellert Fund.
For further information on programming, please visit the website at www.flagler.edu/crispellert, or contact Julie Dickover at 904-826-8530 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The CEAM’s hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 12 to 4 p.m.