The MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts (MFAIA) Decolonial Arts Praxis concentration emerged in response to the most recent resurgence in North America of Indigenous sovereignty and anti-colonial resistance movements that can be traced back to activism led by Indigenous communities since the onset of settler colonialism.
The MFAIA program’s concentration in Decolonial Art contributes to the growth of anti-, post- and de-colonialism. Initially inspired by Idle No More, recognized as the largest mass movement in Canada, the IDA concentration prepares future generations of artists, activists, and scholars to contribute to these movements from within (colonial) academia and beyond, with understanding of the complexities of finding common ground between what can sometimes appear as opposing strategies — the move to indigenize institutions of learning, and of decolonizing strategies.
The Decolonial Art Concentration is one of the first academic initiatives in the United States with an emphasis on decolonizing art methods/inquiries through a unifying approach, intended to bring together artists across the Indigenous/settler divide.
Students in the concentration may seek to deepen the traditional practices grounded in their cultures, explore the many and complex ways that living traditions intersect with contemporary art practices, and/or hone their craft for fine art markets and/or other audiences. The range of practices supported by the concentration includes (but is not limited to) visual sovereignty, dance sovereignty, language revitalization, place-based art education, decolonial activist intervention, public art, etc.
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In engaging with the general MFAIA degree criteria, students pursuing the Indigenous and Decolonial Art Concentration will:
- Enroll in the MFAIA concentration for a minimum of four semesters.
- Participate in at least two (2) collaborative learning opportunities (co-learning or other group studies) and a sequence of residency workshops.
- As the means of fulfilling the MFAIA portfolio requirement, concentrators must prepare a document that includes evidence of a significant body of creative work developed over a student’s time in the program; at least two (2) extensive pieces of critical writing; and a minimum of 20 annotations of the most significant resources used in one’s graduate study.