Kelly Church

Sustaining Traditions – Then and Now, 2020
Black ash, copper, sweetgrass, and Rit dye

A member of the Pottawatomi/Ottawa, Match-e-be-nash she-wish Tribe in Michigan, Church is a fifth-generation black ash basket maker. This green basket resembles an emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that, since its arrival in Michigan in 2002, has ravaged the very ash trees on which her basket-weaving depends. In this way, Church’s basket comes to embody the Midwest’s rapidly changing ecology as well as an expression of cultural continuity in the face of such ongoing environmental transformation.

Courtesy of the artist.