Artist Statement

BY: Jackie Lautaimi

The objects in this shadow box represent me and my point of view and some counter and dominant narratives about me. When people look at me they see a young girl, but I’m much more than that. My name is Jacqueline, I live in Oakland and that is why there is a picture of a tree. Moreover, I am Native American/Tongan so that is the reason why there is a flag for those ethnicities. Natives believe that sage is a healing medicine and not just smoke to get rid of evil spirits and that is why there is some in my box. Beading is a craft that Natives do, so the beaded earrings that are in my box are the earrings that my mom made to represent a Native woman dancing in her jingle dress. In addition, I also added the Oneida flag which is the tribe that I am. The flag has a purple background and white squares with a feather. On the outside of my box, I added a Mexican flag because a lot of people assume that I am Mexican when they first meet me. I also put words like “Indian” and “savage” on the outside of my box because when some people find out that I am Native, they might think those words. Even though some of these objects represent a struggle that I had to deal with, it also shows how I embrace who I am and that is the counter narrative I hope is explained and represented in this box. 

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CC BY-SA 4.0 jackie’s shadow box by Jaqueline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

4 Comments
  1. Aerielle 4 months ago

    Hello Jackie! My name is Aerielle, I am a student at San Jose State! In your shadow box you did a really good job of summarizing who you are! Like you, I embrace who I am too! I’m happy that you are happy with who you are and you are proud of every aspect of yourself! The earring seems like something really cool to learn how to make! Do you know how to make an earring like that as well? I like that you added things that you struggled with because it shows that you acknowledge these hardships and you are now past it and have grown up and learned from it. It is good to accept the problems you encounter in life and learn from it! Good job on your shadow box!

  2. Fernanda 4 months ago

    Dear Jackie,
    I really like your artist statement. Also thanking you for sharing your story with us and all of your culture and traditions with us.

    Sincerely,
    Fernanda B.S

  3. Miah 4 months ago

    Hi Jackie! My name is Miah and I’m a student at San Jose State University. Your shadow box is beautiful! I love how you acknowledged where you come from with different artifacts related to your ethnicity such as the sage and the beaded earrings. It was such a cool idea to put the flag of Mexico on the outside of the box showing that it maybe what people see on the outside, but that’s not what you are on the inside. It was a very nice touch.

  4. Jennifer 4 months ago

    Dear Jackie,

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because after reading your artist statement, I felt empowered. Reading your artist statement made me realize that we should learn to ignore the different stereotypes people think about us and learn to love ourselves for who we are. I also appreciate how you made it clear that even though you weren’t what people expected you to be, like for example Mexican, you still were proud enough to say you weren’t and you are proud to be Native American/Tongan. Again, thanks for writing and I’m hoping to hear more from you, until next time!

    Sincerely,
    Jennifer R.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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