Sky Hopinka Submitted photo

Video and sound artist, photographer, and writer Sky Hopinka will discuss his work in a lecture presented by the Bates Museum of Art at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, in Room 104 of the Olin Arts Center. The public is welcome to the event and the exhibition free of charge.

Hopinka’s four-minute video “Mnemonics of Shape and Reason” is featured in the museum’s current exhibition “Exploding Native Inevitable,” on view through March 4. And his video “Sunflower Siege Engine,” will be screened in a mini film festival on Wednesday, Feb. 28, organized by the museum in conjunction with the exhibition.

Hopinka says of his work, “On one hand, [my films are] for everybody. And, on another hand, they are for me, my family, my community, my tribe. I want people to watch these films because I want them to be part of a larger conversation of … what comes next? What does the next generation of indigenous experimental filmmakers look like?”

Hopinka layers documentary-style and abstract imagery with sound and language, creating an innovative cinematic language that represents Indigenous histories and contemporary experiences. In his films, images and forms meld together, accompanied by transcendent sounds, superimposed  text, and Hopinka’s voice reading poetry. His atmospheric vignettes incorporate personal interpretations of homeland, landscape, language, culture, and aesthetics.

Hopinka is part of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. He was born in 1984 in Ferndale, Washington, and currently lives in New York City. He received an AA from Riverside City College, BA in Liberal Arts from Portland State University, and MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is Assistant Professor of Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College, and a 2022 MacArthur Fellow.

“Exploding Native Inevitable” is an exhibition of the work of twelve contemporary Indigenous artists and two collaboratives, accompanied by an ongoing program of dance, film, music, performance, readings, story-telling, and video by Indigenous artists. Exhibiting artists range from emerging to elders. “They are amazing voices, make compelling art, and have important things to say,” said co-curator Brad Kahlhamer. He continued, “The artists build on cultural traditions, push new creative boundaries, and represent some of the extraordinary work being created by Indigenous artists across the land.”

As a teaching museum at a liberal arts college, the Bates Museum of Art and its exhibitions, collections, stewardship, and interpretation bring a world of ideas to enhance the vitality of the intellectual and cultural life of Bates, the surrounding communities, and beyond.

The Bates Museum of Art is located in the Olin Arts Center at 75 Russell S., Lewiston. The museum is always free and open from Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and also until 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays from September to May. For more information, visit

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