Victoria Meza is an indigenous artist with heritage from Peru, the Navajo Nation, and Assiniboine-Sioux tribe. Many of her influences come from her cultural heritage, and her work celebrates that heritage. In addition, her work explores the confusion of navigating different cultures and embracing what it means to grow on one's own terms. With her background in psychology and behavioral health, she is passionate about amplifying conversations about mental health and overcoming generational trauma. She is excited to continue to engage with challenging ideas and evolve her art practice through collaborating with others.
Artist Statement: "Much of my work relies on lived experience, and this piece is no different. When I was thinking about my relationship to the Great Salt Lake and what I could bring awareness to, regarding health and the environment, I was struck by a conversation I had with some family members about the idea of kinship and how it is understood and practiced in one of my tribal communities. It resonated with me because it opened my eyes to how natural building community and caring for community as my family comes to me. Kinship itself is a familiar concept to most, if not all cultural groups. For me, the relationship between health and the environment in bringing awareness to the Great Salt Lake is as simple as cultivating kinship in our spheres of influence to take care of the environment as we take care of each other.
One of my hopes for this piece is that the idea of cultivating kinship is just as beautiful to you as it has been to me. Part of the process of this piece came together when I was considering how I experience kinship already. Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of getting to know and care for some incredible people who happen to be indigenous women of color. (I also know many other people who regrettably didn’t make it into this piece, but I hope they know who they are!) To me, they are strong pillars of inspiration and strength in the community. We each have strengths that help us to lift where we stand, and they certainly do that with grace.
To represent this, I took inspiration from ledger art that was common among Plains tribes in the 1800’s. This can be seen with the background text and the style of the figures on top of it. Although ledger art typically used paint as a medium, I chose to use ink and markers to complete this piece. The markers I used were a gift that reminded me of the beauty of sharing things we have to enrich each other’s life. For me, being able to make even a small connection to a part of my heritage I’m reconnecting with has been rewarding."