#TsiiyéełPowered explores how race, gender, and culture affect one’s connection to and navigation through environments. In Diné (Navajo) culture a person’s hair is an extension of their thoughts. During the recent Indian Residential Boarding School era, the government forcibly removed Native children from their families and stripped them of traditional language, dress, and hair. These acts of assimilation impacted the survivors of boarding schools and future generations. A tsiiyéeł, or traditional Diné bun––worn by both men and women––thus takes on much significance.
#TsiiyéełPowered is inspired by the artist’s familial connection to this history and an online movement started by Jaclyn Roessel. Installed are three giant hair ties floating in space, while a video shows a woman wearing a tsiiyéeł as she drifts through various environments. In turn this provokes questions about what an act of decolonization looks like and what it means for a Diné person now to wear a tsiiyéeł.