Mikaela Shafer is our OLY ARTS cover artist. Her beautiful and meaningful artworks will be showing recent and past works at Dog Bog Studios with her studio companions Daniel Overstreet and David Overstreet, also other Knitting Mills artists J. Hukee, Evan Clayton Horback and the ACE program artists, and guest artists Ry King, and Linemaker. This article will focus on Mikaela’s artworks, her bicultural identity, and her struggle to reconnect with her Hopi roots.
Ms. Shafer’s works are abstract in nature and very materials forward. They’re open to us projecting our own interpretations, memories, and imagery onto the earth rich colors and swirling compositions; teamed with her beautiful poetry, we are directed to what they mean to her personally and the reasons she created them.
She recently won the prestigious LIFT grant from The Native Arts and Culture Foundation, designed to provide early career support for Native artists. She named her accepted project: Down Road 264, it is an art installation and immersive experience.
With the grant she will travel to the Hopi reservation in Arizona where her mother originates. She will stay with her mother and connect with family members and elders, spending time in her culture reflecting and journaling, after which she will create a fully immersive experience, serving traditional Hopi food. She wants other indigenous people to reconnect with their heritage and for others to experience her artistic and cultural journey. Her intention is to share her journey with people and to help others find a collective way back home, and hopefully share what it is like to be a disconnected with our culture. The Hopi nation is necessarily very private about their culture because insights to their way of life have in the past been used against their purposes. No insights will be shared but the privilege of visiting this environment is not to be underestimated.
On a personal level she hopes to heal the relationship that distance has caused with her mother, and so enabling her to heal her relationship with her culture. Hopi culture is matrilineal, so this healing journey is very important to her. She knows this can be an imperfect process and drew my attention to one of her poems:
Healing is knowing that
I can be a good mother
Healing is knowing that
I can be my own mother
There is a homesickness for something that was never available to her. Now getting older and has two daughters, and Hopi culture being matrilineal she is supposed to be passing down her culture to her two daughters. She will use art to reconnect with her culture and heal things that have in the past prevented her from reconnecting.
Shafer also has a social media agency named Maqa Collective specializing in brand storytelling, social media management, and coaching. She has been in the industry for 15 years, working for a fashion company, a restaurant chain, the tourism industry, and a bank, but for three years she has been running her own company so she can focus on treasured values of creating the community she wants to be a part of and helping others do the same. She helps brands, businesses, and artists tell their stories and build community online through engaging, educational, thoughtful, and inspiring content. She works primarily with brands that give back to their communities. She is currently focusing on coaching and consulting, which she finds fun. These are one-on-one sessions where she helps people get inspired and focused, and stay accountable and on track with their goals, while giving them all the resources and promotions they need to succeed. Her business Instagram is a great resource for any business, she shares a lot of free resources, tips, and ideas. She also teaches online classes and has a social media 101 class for small businesses available online. It is a go-at-your-own-pace class, so people can fit it in whenever they have time.
Shafer will also be one of the guest jurors for TCMoFA’s Coast Salish Museum of Fine Arts’ Indigenous People’s fine arts show. She is excited to see all the indigenous artists connecting with other indigenous people and hoping to build some relationships from the experience. She is passionate about showing how diverse and creative indigenous artists are, and that indigenous artists don’t only make indigenous art. Often, when people call for indigenous art, they are looking for indigenous craft makers but she’s looking forward to seeing more diversity. They plan to donate a percentage of proceedings to @canoejourneyherbalists organization.
Fine Art Show of Mikaela Shafer’s work
Friday, October 6, 6-10 pm
Saturday, October 7, 12-4 pm
Olympia Knitting Mills. 508 Legion Way SE
Art and personal: https://www.instagram.com/mama0mouse/
Art Studio: https://www.instagram.com/dogbogstudios/
Art Portfolio: https://www.maqacollective.com/art