Introducing Melissa Bob

Hello Grapevine Ink!

Organizing and being in contact with many of you through
email, I've had the unique opportunity to exchange significant thoughts, ideas and dialogue on a 1-on-1 basis.

It is important to me to share these exchanges with the larger group when possible.

I would like to introduce to all of you
Melissa Bob-
a Grapevine Ink printmaker and activist!

Melissa has been an incredible support for Grapevine Ink,
and our exchanges have been inspiring. This past summer she visited Japan with a group of other printmakers including
Melanie Yazzie and John Hitchcock. Melissa is currently working
on prints for a folio exchange with these artists based on their trip.

Below is an excerpt from Melissa's emails to me that include a short bio about her and
dialogue that I found particularly inspiring-

"My art background is mostly in printmaking. As an undergrad I studied printmaking and indigenous art history with Joe Feddersen, who is a Native artist. I also attended graduate school to obtain a Master of Public Administration in Tribal Governance degree. I am working for my tribal government (the Lummi Nation) to reform and integrate the children's mental health services on the reservation. We are looking at how the integration of cultural art and healing practices improves the effectiveness of our services. We recieved a six year grant from the federal government to do this. I live in Bellingham, Washington, which is quite close to the Canadian border near the water.

For the past few years I've been doing stuff other than printmaking, so I am dying to get back to the printmaking world. I am about to start a suite of prints about the trip I took to Japan with John and a couple of other Native artists.

I was thinking about how you had a difficult time figuring out how to describe this collective without sounding exclusive. Here's my thought:

As women of color, we are contextualizing our perspectives and approaches to our art and world. We are not just existing as women of color and writing and creating in a reactive manner to the world as closed entities. We are proactively working and creating from this perspective as women of color, which is a conscious approach to our daily lives. It's not that we are exclusive, it's that we are a population with a shared experience and we wish to work together from that foundation to pursue and focus on a shared vision of growing together so our perspectives are honored and we strengthen each other's voices."

She has a way with words...
I feel Melissa was able to verbalize much of the essence of why I wanted to start this collective.
What do you think?

Until next time Grapevine Ink~
Look forward to hearing more about Melissa and her work in the year to come!


Shani Peters email @ said...

I'm extra late, but better late then never, right? Melissa, I really enjoyed reading this. Your artistic and academic path is unusual to say the least. As an African American, descendent of the transatlantic slave trade, much of my familial past is blurry. There is much rumor of the native blood in my family tree but little undisputed fact. The closest to concrete knowledge I have is that my fraternal grandmother's, grandmother was full blood Osage, who integrated into a West Virginia black community to avoid being displaced to the west. Needless to say, I have interest in the native people of this land. While my ancestry was most likely based in the east, my sense of solidarity is consistent across the 'country'. I admire your tribal work and would love to know more about it and to actually see your art work. Hopefully this can all come about via grapevine. Also, I agree you have a way with words, well said indeed.