ARTIST CONDENSED BIOGRAPHY
Ahní Rocheleau works in site-specific public art, installation art, performance art and ritual, object sculpture, painting, drawing, and exhibition curating at the intersection of human/ecosystem relationships, climate change, community transformation, and racism.
Rocheleau’s artwork and curatorial projects derive from an interest in how cultural memory directs society, often suppressing our human connection to earth and imaginative responses to the mainstream narrative. As One-of-Many, Rocheleau embodies the climate emergency as a being who walks through public spaces, roaming along rivers and streets, spirit-like in a frosty, ghostly-white cloud of bobbling tumbleweeds –that omen from the Dust Bowl Era, and now of extreme weather. One-of-Many invites YOU to engage in community and social transformation. With the imperative of climate emergency and the cultural amnesia that prevents all of us from fully grasping the cultural power of our magnetic visual presence, gather fallen branches, grasses or tumbleweed, stitch or wire them onto a sturdy cloth with an opening for your head, or onto an existing garment (coat, jeans, poncho shape, gown, tuxedo, etc.) with optional arm sock or mask over face. Adorned, walk along your streets, rivers, and byways, alone or in groups, in silence or in song, –become the ever-present spatial narrative of climate consciousness and habitable futurities.
A distant relative, Kateri Catherine Annenontak, Wendat (Huron) First Nation, born 1648/49, is too remote in time for Rocheleau to claim any form of indigeneity. Yet to her, this great-grandmother of eight generations ago feels present as an inner knowing over decades of life and of artistic production with wild rice grasses, seeds, river projects, and ecosystem and climate awareness permeating the work, and the ever-present need to be with the land.
Extending her climate-based art production into activism, Rocheleau served as the NM Coordinator for the 2014 Great March for Climate Action, working in partnership with twelve Indigenous tribal administrations, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service to establish 29 impromptu camps for the marchers; and later helped the Chaco Coalition protect Greater Chaco from encroaching hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuel pipeline construction. Ahní Rocheleau teaches studio arts and public space design/public art at the Institute of American Indian Arts, (IAIA), a college in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as the Santa Fe Community College.
She earned her MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and a BA in Ceramics from California State University, Sacramento, where she also studied advanced painting with Oliver Lee Jackson. Ahní studied at the Pilchuck Glass School and Haystack Mountain School of Art and served as French interpreter for glass casting courses at the Musée de Verre in Sars-Poteries, France.
As founder of Spaces For Peace, a public space design nonprofit unfurling a world centered on peace and creative nonviolent methodologies, she also established the Spaces For Peace Design Lab for Met School students in Providence, Rhode Island.
Awards include: an Andy Warhol Fulcrum Grant as founder of Confluence Collective; two Rhode Island State Council on the Arts grants; four International Convergence Festival commissions for public artworks, one for the 1995 International Sculpture Conference; a City of Bogota, site-specific public art commission; a DeWitt-Wallace Reader’s Digest Foundation Fellowship Award; a Walter Hopps (Director, Menil Collection) Recognition of Merit Award; and artist residencies, including UCross Foundation, and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony for the Arts. Ahní has exhibited nationally and internationally in Boston, California, Maine, New York City, Santa Fe, Barcelona, Canada, Colombia, the Canary Islands, and Germany.
ahnirocheleau.com, IG: @ahnirocheleau