Grounding Lessons

Rosa Ng
Rosa Ng
Multidisciplinary Artist
Creative Entrepreneur
Educator + Researcher
Thesis Faculty
John Roach

This thesis project is an ongoing self-exploration about finding the meaning of belonging and my relationship with nature. Through this journey, I engage in textiles, worms, soil, history, and mapping to contextualize my research on regenerative ecology and its indigenous root. By understanding how my role as an individual plays in the larger context of inequalities in the food system, focused around Native American communities. My engagement with textiles will speak to visualizing biodiversity, polyculture planting techniques, and fabric measuring tools to reflect the three sister garden planting plan. Textiles are adapted in various forms where they become the craft itself rather than just a means to an end by applying the building blocks of weaving structures to other mediums. Video collaging and prints affirm the multiplicity of this project —the layered history abstracted and woven together. Regeneration and soil health are most apparent in two of my embodied gestures: (i) in the vermicompost bins and (ii) in my winter leaves ground preparation.

History and maps are the main components of my active unlearning of the dominant notion of US history and the western way of constructing cartography and representation. My methodology is acknowledging indigenous cartographic framework of storied, oral history — to bring light to alternative world views and methods.

The gallery proposal “Grounding Lessons” documents my embodied research from March 2020 to April 2021. Although my topic of interest started in regenerative gestures, the primary purpose of this project is to tell the story of Native food with its historical contexts through mapping inspired by indigenous mapping techniques, place naming, and oral history. I feel strongly about having a portion of the gallery represent my initial research because of its significance in helping me weave soil regeneration together with its impact on our land, food injustice in our capitalistic system, and my relationship to nature and land. I ultimately came to question the origin story of the land we occupy.

The gallery kicks off with a three-channel video projection on cloth of the various embodied research that I’ve been doing this past year. As you move through the gallery, you’ll encounter the research artifacts that I’ve made. I hope the exhibition serves as an artifact that conveys my journey this past year unlearning dominant societal narratives and grounding myself in historical context in order to be a better-informed ally.

This project hopes to question how one might shift their relationship with Mother Earth from the current system bound by the exploitation of natural resources, and into a restorative and reciprocal relationship based in respect and balance. Furthermore, how might one interested in food justice and land restoration work recognize the interconnectedness of the history, cultural stories, and generational trauma which has impacted the Native American community? We, as non-native, can never truly understand the Native American experience, but, I believe we all can help reshape the mainstream narrative to rightfully include Native American history, culture, and celebrate their diversity.