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KAILA ROSE FARRELL-SMITH
Kaila is a Klamath/Modoc woman named after the Klamath mythological character, G’eeLa (Ka-EE-La), who represents creation, the earth, and the land. She is a visual artist working with oil paint and various printmaking techniques using fabric, canvas, wood and reclaimed rocks. Her artistic expression and practice facilitates a personal journey of de-colonization, navigating indigenous identity and reclaiming ancestral knowledge. She explores images and symbols that represent an emergence of indigenous memories and expression, utilizing the strong visual languages of color, form, and abstraction on two-dimensional surface as well as expanding the visual experiences into architectural space through the orchestration of art objects. Kaila works as a mentor and teacher at the ‘A. Susana Santos: Journey’s in Creativity,’ tribal high-school youth art camp, exhibiting regionally, as well as donating artwork to numerous fundraisers that benefit the preservation and reclamation of Native American culture, land, and ceremonies. Farrell-Smith’s painting "The Wocus Gatherers" was juried into the exhibition 'In the Spirit: Contemporary NW Native American Art’ at the Washington History Museum, winning the 'Spirit of the Northwest' award for the 2013 exhibition. She received her BFA from Pacific NW College of Art in 2004, as a Dorothy Lemelson scholarship recipient and is currently a candidate in the second year of the MFA in Contemporary Art Practices Studio degree program at Portland State University. I am a Klamath tribal member who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. I was named after a Klamath mythological character, Kaila, who represents creation; the earth, the land.
KAILA ROSE SAYS:
I am an artist who works with a variety of mixed medium including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, charcoal, intaglio and ink. I graduated with a bachelors degree in Fine Art from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2004, and received a full Dorothy Lemelson Scholarship. During this time I travelled and studied in Cortona, Italy and Santorini, Greece. I have continued to travel in the U.S., as well as throughout much of Central and South America.
My compositional themes are varied. I have produced different series of portraits, landscapes, old world stone alleyways, spirit birds, animals and salmon. My travels and personal reflections continually inspire new themes. My work has been described as psychological, archetypal, and surreal. As an artist, I have been described as having good command of the human form, a strong compositional style, and a superb colorist.
My artwork depicts light and shadow at extremes, through intense color and high contrast. My subject matter reflects my interactions with the world and nature. I paint portraits of faces from history as well as my relations. Recently, I have been abstracting portraits of animals to render animal spirits. My animal spirits live within my memory landscape brought forth from my imagination. I use a palette knife to attain a surreal surface. I use stencils of my handprints as a symbol of prayers.
My goal as an artist is to paint the vibrancy, beauty, and psychological depth I experience from two worlds I travel within. I identify as bi-cultural, growing up in Oregon with cultural and spiritual ties to the inter-tribal native community. I grew up participating with my family in social powwows, spiritual ceremonies, and native activism. I spent my adolescence living in Germany and traveling through out Western Europe. My artwork attempts to bridge my experiences ofplaces I’ve explored to my ancestral ties as an indigenous woman, navigating a modern Western world.