Graduand explores how identity and culture are rooted in land
Published on 1 June 2021
Cultural identity and how it relates to physical land is at the centre of one student’s Fine Art project accompanying hundreds of others in the University of Dundee’s Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Showcase 2021
Cultural identity and how it relates to physical land is at the centre of one student’s Fine Art project accompanying hundreds of others in the University of Dundee’s Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Showcase 2021.
Final year Fine Art student, Chenoa Beedie (24), chose to explore the nuances of cultural identity through her film, photography, and text installation entitled “How to be Human”, which celebrates her Native American and Scottish heritage.
Chenoa, who is originally from Glasgow, has always had an appreciation and awareness of her roots in America and the Scottish Highlands. She has experienced racial abuse from a young age with people questioning her nationality based solely on her appearance.
Having her Scottish identity scrutinised throughout her life fuelled Chenoa’s passion for celebrating her heritage and encouraging others to be proud of their roots.
“I wanted to broach the important topics of belonging and socio-political relationships by crossing parallels between my multicultural, Scottish and Native American background. During my research for this project I spent time in America gathering footage and images to include in my work.” said Chenoa.
“I was inspired by artists such as Adrian Piper and Minna Salami, and my practice aims to explore how we understand and relate to the world through each of our own, unique identities.
“Drawing on ideas of land, place and home, ‘How to be Human’ documents an open dialogue on issues of representation and visibility in a post-colonial era.
“Reviewing cultural implications of human perception, my work evaluates our current education system, institutionalisation, and understandings of what it means to be human and highlights the importance of deconstructing colonial narratives ingrained in society.
“During my final year I was offered the role of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion representative and for the past nine months I have worked alongside staff and students on issues within diversity and inclusion in our school’s environment and syllabus.
“This year I have worked closely with Helen Gorrill, introducing our new In-GEAR forum, which looks at intersectionality in the arts research, for DJCAD.”
In her work, Chenoa presents footage from her dual and diverse cultural homes to humanise multicultural backgrounds for a society she feels makes people with mixed cultural identities feel like ‘others’.
Working predominantly with film, photography and text, Chenoa explores personal experiences of her mixed-race heritage and multicultural identity.
Alongside her final year project Chenoa has taken the time to work on an additional exhibition to accompany the Graduate Showcase to amplify marginalised voices. The &MORE exhibition invited any student from any discipline to add their work and will be available accompanying Chenoa’s work.
The &MORE exhibition will focus on the people behind the work looking at disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and ethnicity.
The launch of the Graduate Showcase will be broadcast live online on Friday 11 June to students, staff, families, friends and other visitors.
It celebrates the extensive achievements of the graduating students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and the department of Architecture within the School of Social Sciences.
The work on display will represent the culmination of years of creative development and hard work, with the website featuring expanded information on all students, including extra images and video content.
The Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Showcase 2021 is available to view from June 11 at www.dundee.ac.uk/graduate-showcase.
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