Location: The Dairy Arts Center 2590 Walnut St. Boulder, CO 80302 West facing wall in the parking lot.
The artist behind the moniker LMNOPI was raised during the back to the land movement of the 1970’s in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY. This early imprint left a deep appreciation and connection to the natural world in her psyche.
LMNOPI is an activist first and foremost and she uses her artistic skills as a way to amplify messages emanating from within movements for social, economic, racial and climate justice. Her primary mediums are painting and printmaking, which she utilizes to create both sanctioned and unsanctioned interventions in the commons.
Dedication of “Uncounted” Artist’s Statement
Many thanks to Streetwise Boulder and Dairy Arts Center for giving me the opportunity to amplify this critical issue facing contemporary Native Women and their loved ones and families. Thanks to Sarah Ortegon for allowing me the honor of painting you. Thank you to the ancestors whose land we now are standing upon.
The fossil fuel industry is directly implicated in this epidemic of violence. When they build pipelines in close proximity to Indigenous communities they put Native women and girls at risk of being raped, abducted and murdered by the pipeline workers who are imported and housed in man camps. A critical look at rape culture must include the larger picture of the treatment of the planet itself. Extractive industries treat the planet as something to exploit. Similarly, women are seen as objects to extract pleasure from. Desecrating the earth leads to desecrating women. We are one and the same. Elements of topographical maps highlight the interconnectedness of the human body with the planet. The elevation lines used in cartography echo the mark making used to describe the human body in two dimensional form. One could perceive maps as mankind’s attempt to subjugate the land and as such it provides a curious juxtaposition with activists breaking free from the confines of borders and colonization. Much as the topographical lines in this mural are breaking free from the confines of the boundaries of the pictorial plane. The figure herself refuses to be contained by the rectangular frame of the mural. She is bigger than that. Like a mountain she rises above.
When I began researching this issue in order to inform my creative process, I tried to look up the statistics on the epidemic of violence being perpetrated against native women and girls. I was shocked and dismayed to discover that there are no accurate statistics because of the simple fact that the police and government agencies responsible for solving these cases don't keep track. They don't count them. One can easily conclude that it follows that they don't feel that these women count or matter enough to keep track of. I decided to include hash marks used for counting in the mural. If you look closely, you will see them covering much of the mural. Some are being obscured and some are disappearing altogether behind the map. This is a literal metaphor. I have left some empty spaces as well. These empty spaces are asking the question: how many more? How many more will go missing and be lost to the world; to their children; their partners; their parents and brothers and sisters and friends. How many voices will be silenced; how many more gifts will be lost.
It's our responsibility to talk about this issue and amplify it in every way within our power. My power happens to be through painting. What is yours?
Thanks for listening.
Lopi LaRoe also known as LMNOPI