Biennale of Sydney

Demian DinéYazhi´ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment

Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Campbelltown Arts Centre. Courtesy the artists. Photograph: Document Photography
Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Campbelltown Arts Centre. Courtesy the artists. Photograph: Document Photography
Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Campbelltown Arts Centre. Courtesy the artists. Photograph: Document Photography

Demian DinéYazhi´

Born 1983 in Gallup, New Mexico
Lives and works in the ancestral lands of the Diné, Chinook, Clackamas, Wasco, Multnomah, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes


"We understand that western art was used as a political tool of warfare to attract and advertise on behalf of the settler colonial project to colonise Indigenous lands by any means necessary. Our battlegrounds exist in the art institution, because there is no safe space in a colonised place!"

Demian DinéYazhi´ formed the collective R.I.S.E. (Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment), and collaborates internationally to produce artworks, performative lectures and everyday items such as posters, stickers, t-shirts and media platforms. The collective’s aim is to challenge dominant narratives by inserting strong propositions of sovereignty, decolonisation, sustainability, feminism, and queer and trans visibility.

At Campbelltown Arts Centre, a poster display in the foyer presented works by Demian DinéYazhi´ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, alongside those by Charlotte Allingham, Denilson Baniwa, Suohpanterror and First Dog on the Moon. They were presented in dialogue with each other, reflecting a vast range of dynamic graphic activism and cultural practices from around the world. These colourful interventions of criss-cross appropriation through humour and serious play offer alternative ways to view the worlds we inhabit, or reflect on real events affecting side-lined communities in ways that don’t frame them as victims. Some of these posters / slogan artworks also appeared on bus shelters around Campbelltown and in the published NIRIN artist book NIRIN NGAAY.

Demian DinéYazhi´ is a transdisciplinary Indigenous Diné Nádleehí artist, poet, and curator. They are a survivor of attempted European-inspired genocide, forced assimilation, sexual and gender violence, capitalist sabotage, and hypermarginalisation in a colonised country. They live and work in a post-post-apocalyptic world, unafraid to fail.
@heterogeneoushomosexual

R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment is an Indigenous initiative dedicated to Indigenous issues of decolonisation, survivance, dismantling white supremacist heteropatriarchal structures, and amplifying the voices of Queer, Trans, Gender Gradient/Non-Conforming, Two Spirit, and Matriarchal communities. R.I.S.E. is a collective resistance created, nurtured, and led by Indigenous peoples.
@RISEindigenous

Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons
Courtesy the artist

Exhibited Artwork

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, A NATION IS A MASSACRE (FUCK MAN CAMPS), 2018, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, A NATION IS A MASSACRE (MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN #MMIW), 2019, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, FUCK COLUMBUS DAY, 2015, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, A NATION IS A MASSACRE (DEATH TOLL), 2018, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, DESTROY, 2019, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, HONORING ANNA MAE PICTOU AQUASH, 2016, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, HIV/AIDS AFFECTS INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, 2014, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, GIVE BACK ALL ABORIGINAL LAND, 2020, digital print. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, BLESS SACRED INDIGENOUS BODIES, 2017, digital print. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Demian DinéYazhi ́ and R.I.S.E. Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, DECOLONIZE YOUR LUVVV, 2016, digital print, dimensions variable. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist.

Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre