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Relevance of Place: Ben Pease

Shannon Jackson interviews painter and public artist, Ben Pease, about Native resilience and resistance in his artistic practice, as well as the importance of indigenous worldviews – in Montana and beyond. In this episode, Pease speaks about the familial and political origins of his drawings and paintings as well as how his practice has expanded in its forms and in its reach to local and national audiences. Watch to hear him discuss his relationship to the landscapes and wildlife of Montana as well as how his art engages regional histories of colonialization.

Filmed in May 2023.

Ben Pease

Artist Ben Pease looks to the right of the camera frame.

Ben Pease’s artwork is well known for its unique and culturally relevant style, using historic photographic references while also touching on current events and issues simultaneously. Paternally, Pease is enrolled with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. He is a member of the Crow Indian Reservation’s Valley of the Chiefs District and grew up in Lodge Grass, MT. He belongs to the Newly Made Lodge Clan and is a child of Newly Made Lodge. Ben is also a Night Hawks Dance Society member, Sweat-Lodge ceremony owner, holder of ancestral medicine paint, sponsor of Sundance, Sundancer, and War-Dancer, and has led the Dance of Seasons three times.

Ben has exhibited his artwork worldwide in Germany, Brazil, Italy, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2022 Pease was awarded the Executive Editor’s Choice Award from the Western Art Collector Magazine in conjunction with the C.M. Russell Museum. In March of 2023, the New-York Historical Society Museum opened the major exhibition Nature, Crisis, Consequence featuring a masterwork from Pease alongside a seminal work from Albert Bierstadt. Ben and his family reside in Billings, MT.

Shannon Jackson

Shannon Jackson holds the Hadidi Professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, where she currently serves as Chair of the History of Art Department. Jackson is a scholar and educator of cross-media art practice and of socially-engaged art. A Guggenheim fellow and award-winning author, she has published several books and online platforms, including Back Stages (2022), Public Servants (2016), The Builders Association (2015), Social Works (2011) as well as In Terms of Performance and Media Art 21. Jackson serves on the boards of several arts organizations, including Oakland Museum of the Arts, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Headlands Center for the Arts, the Minnesota Street Project Foundation, and the Kramlich Art Foundation. As a guest program advisor to Tippet Rise, Jackson helped to create the Relevance of Place series of site-specific dialogues.

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