Department of Art, College of Liberal Arts
MnDRIVE Area: Global Food
MnDRIVE Human in the Data Fellow, Summer 2021
Intergenerational Data: Food Sovereignty in Gorama Mende Chiefdom, Sierra Leone
With support from the Judd Fellowship to visit Mondema village in the Gorama Mende chiefdom of Sierra Leone, I am interested in learning how indigenous practices redefine the meaning and power of data? As Gregory Cajete discusses in Native Science, practical knowledge about the natural world is embedded in indigenous practices, stories and art. How is data collected and analyzed here? How is knowledge presently produced? How does the circulation of knowledge, cooperation, and exchange, especially with respect to farming and art, support indigenization?
I come to these questions as an artist and an urban farmer, whose practice relies on a Native and non-Native intellectual lineage including Masanobu Fukuoka, Linda Black Elk, Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, Waheenee, Sean Sherman, and my mother who opened the first West African restaurant in Los Angeles in the ’70s. My practice often results in experimental nature prints and paintings using soil as a medium, tastings, and community engagement.
Image: Agricultural workers of Sierra Leone for New Democracy’s Ta-Valema Permaculture Farm + Learning Lab, Project Manager of SLFND, and Stephanie Lindquist.