The artwork I create with beads, natural materials, and found objects are rooted in understandings of identity and the act of gifting. My art speaks to my identity as an Upper Tanana woman, daughter, and granddaughter. I use my platform to convey the needs and demands of my community. My practice is invested in the awakening of sleeping materials and my artworks are layered in meanings with the deepest understanding being accessible to my family, friends, and ancestors. While an aspect of this work is a rejection of the colonial gaze the overall messaging of the work is accessible to all who are willing to be open-minding, reflective, and embracing of experiences outside their own frame of reference.
Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé (b. 1992) is a proud Niisüü member of the White River First Nation of Beaver Creek, Yukon and Alaska. She is an Upper Tanana visual artist, emerging curator, and volunteer. She was taught to bead by her Grandma Marilyn John, an Upper Tanana Elder and residential school Survivor. Knowing the importance of cultural revitalization her Grandma encouraged her to bead and sew at a young age. Teresa began exhibiting her work in 2014, and has now had three solo shows and participated in over 20 group exhibitions. Teresa has sat on numerous arts committees and juries over the years and currently sits on the Board of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective.