Call Your Grandmother! – Ana Anu

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Image credits: Amanda Tipton Photography

Artist Bio:

Ana Anu (she/they) is a poet and multi-media artist.  Their work, centering ecofeminist poetics, has been materialized in two books of poetry, Noon (2017, thisisfeministart) and Mona Mona Mona (2019, thisisfeministart) and through large public discourse performances and installations internationally.  Anu is an MFA graduate of Naropa University and an MA Candidate at NYU Tisch. Their third book, a x-genre project titled Crone-Ology is forthcoming this year. Its sentiments are reflected in this show.  Through much of the pandemic, Anu supported the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers by distributing BIPOC scholarships for virtual events. Anu also works more broadly towards intergenerational wisdom with several intersectional feminist organizations.

Artist Statement:

What happens when living ancient women are placed into a public reflection? Do we see something we could not readily see? What is revealed? Do we take on her qualities? Do we understand ourselves as her? Do we understand ourselves above the world of duality? What is revealed? This exhibition invites the viewer into a physical and psychical communication with elder feminine wisdom.

We need our grandmothers. We need to adopt grandmothers and love them as if they were our own. We need to work against our own erasure in becoming elders, and against the loss of libraries between elder bones. Working with grandmothers has taught me that most of our social and environmental catastrophes might be mitigated through a spiritual resolve; by following the advice of a few auspiciously suited, silver-haired women. 

The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers is an earth realm and ancestral council. Their confluence is the result of much physical and psychical journeying, and of a certain predestined orchestration.To date, just six of the original thirteen grandmothers sit on the council earthside. They are: Grandmother Flordemayo, Unci Rita LongVisitor Holy Dance, Grandmother Clara Shinobu Iura, Grandmother Mona Polaca, Grandmother Maria Alice Campos, and Grandmother Margaret Behan. The grandmothers who sit on the council spiritside are: Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim, Grandmother Bernadette Rebinot, Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein, Unci Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance, Abuela Julieta Casimiro, Aama Bombo, and Tsering Dolma Gyaltong. The council is both living and also medium. This exhibition is dedicated to the council, and to the extended community of grandmothers on either side of the “telephone”. 

Undeterred by the social erasure of elders, a problem specific to western over culture, grandmothers globally are nurturing their unique veracity. Grandmothers are remembering their work as vital and urgent contributors to humanity. Grandmothers with their noses on the pulse of matters are both sensitive to our current conjuncture and prepared with a paranormal awareness. As our collective grows out of nuclear family models and into possibilities of chosen family webs, we might consider necessary, adopting elders and bringing wisdom holders back into centerfold.

Read an exhibition write up by Zavi Kang Engles here

Read an exhibition write up by Rocko Foltz here