Native American Artist Rachel Allen’s airplay Opens at Urbano Project

Print More

Urbano Project invites the community to celebrate the opening of airplay, a site-specific interactive installation by artist Rachel Allen (Nez Perce) on January 23.

This is the culmination of her fall 2019 artist residency, Allen's airplay will be on view at Urbano's Jamaica Plain gallery from January 23 through March 14, 2020 with an opening reception on Jan. 23 from 6 to 8 pm.

Allen aims to unsettle the air we breathe and otherwise manipulate. If we think about our experience through the air-the ubiquitous material we are suspended in-then we can contemplate what decolonization requires. If decolonization is not a metaphor or symbolic act, then we must reassess the entire environment we occupy. Allen invites the audience to intentionally interact with air, understand its agency, and be reminded of our interconnectedness.

Rachel Allen (Nez Perce) is an artist and curator, exhibiting her artwork and presenting on her scholarship nationally. An Assistant Curator at the Peabody Essex Museum, she recently exhibited at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. She has dual citizenship with the United States and with her Native nations, the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho.

Allen holds an MFA in Printmaking and an MA in Arts & Cultural Management and Museum Studies from Michigan State University. She received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Opening the same night will be two Youth Artist Projects exhibitions, airplay and Stories of the Land, centered around Urbano's FY20 theme "Creative Conditions." On display will be multimedia work created by students during workshops led by Urbano's fall 2019 artists-in-residence, Rachel Allen and Erin Genia.

In her workshop, Allen provided tools for students to create place-worlds, or stories upon close examination of the land and their environment. Students researched the recent and ancient history of a location of their choice from a variety of facets-municipal, social, geological, current conditions, personal connections. Story sharing happens through oral tellings or performances, and artist books.

Genia shared stories from Native American peoples and the history and work of Indigenous peoples of our region, and storytelling through a variety of artistic methods: painting, printmaking, sculpture, performance, sound, and public art with Urbano's youth artists.

Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist whose practice merges cultural imperatives, pure expression, and exploration of materiality, with a response to past, present, and future matters. She uses her artistic voice as a Dakota person to explore the human implications of oppression and the intersections of beauty and power; invoking an evolution of thought and practice aligned with the cycles of the natural world and the potential of humanity.

Genia has a Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT and studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts and The Evergreen State College. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at the 2019 Venice Art Biennale, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and the Weisner Gallery at MIT. She received her first public art commission for "Resilience: Anpa O Wicahnpi" from the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. Visit her website & Instagram @emgenia

Youth Artist Projects are in-depth long-term artistic explorations of Urbano's annual themes through the lens and mentorship of the Artist-in-Residence, resulting in one or more exhibitions/projects that are presented at Urbano and other public sites.

Urbano, located at 39 Germania Street, is open 1-6PM Tuesday-Friday and by appointment. Visit for more information.