Artwork by Erin Genia

Open Call: BCA 27th Drawing Show

Yušká: Uncoil | Curated by Erin Genia

Boston Center for the Arts 27th Drawing Show at the Mills Gallery

Apply by March 10 | 11pm

On View May 11 — August 3, 2024


This show is open to any media that engages with drawing in its process, including two- and three-dimensional work, as well as sound, video, and installation. Your interpretation of Yušká: Uncoil could be as conceptual or literal as you like. Pieces can deal directly with the formal qualities of line in composition, or possess a representation of the ways the act of drawing shows up in your artistic process.

The show will include a collaborative artistic project and a gathering to talk about issues important to you as an artist, and build community. If you are interested in participating in this optional collaborative project, please indicate so in the application.


Curatorial Statement

In the Dakhota language, the word Yušká means: to untie, release, uncoil, loosen, set free. Its meaning can range from the simple untying of a knotted rope, all the way to a philosophical undoing of political, economic and social constructs. 

Life is sustained by Earth and everything we do is the result of our connection to the lands we live on. This basic reality has been lost to most, but it is central to Dakota cosmology. All cultures of the world stem from Earth-based ways of living, and for the past couple centuries, those ways have been targeted for erasure and nearly destroyed by dominant societies, but we remain Earth-based beings. 

Artists’ unparalleled ability to speak to the intangible gives them a singular way of addressing inequities and presenting visions of a better world. This power, alongside fluency in the creative process, can be a catalyst for social change that aligns with the Dakhota word Yušká. The crises of climate change and ecological destruction are the result of the same cultural dynamics that are intertwined with economic inequality and the injustices of racism. 

Beginning with Yušká, how can artists honor the agency of the Earth and our place in it? How can we devote our creative work to unraveling the immense knot formed by harmful ideologies that threaten the web of life?


About this Year’s Guest Curator: Erin Genia

Erin Genia (she/her), Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and cultural worker specializing in Native American and Indigenous peoples’ arts and culture. Genia’s work in these areas is focused on amplifying the powerful presence of Indigenous peoples on the occupied lands of America in the arts, sciences and public realm to invoke an evolution of thought and practice that is aligned with the cycles of the natural world and the potential of humanity. Genia’s artistic practice merges Dakota cultural imperatives, pure expression, and exploration of materiality with the conceptual. Erin is fluent in multiple modes of expression: sculpture, fiber, sound, performance, digital media, painting, printmaking, jewelry and ceramics. Genia served as an artist in residence for the City of Boston and developed a project, “Cultural Emergency Response,” that creatively repurposes disaster planning methods to address complex issues like climate change, institutional racism, ecological destruction and economic inequality from a decolonial lens.


About the Drawing Show

Since 1979, the Drawing Show has been a signature group exhibition at the Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts. For each Drawing Show, we invite an accomplished external curator to develop a unique, topical concept for artists to respond to through an Open Call. The curator then selects the works and develops exhibition-related public programming for the show.

This juried group exhibition has shown more than five hundred artists through the years. Previous Drawing Shows have been curated by Chanel Thervil (2019), Robert Moeller (2018), and Susan Metrican (2015), among other artists and curators.



The 27th Drawing Show, Yušká: Uncoil curated by Erin Genia is open to all local, national, and international artists.

Please note: only complete submissions will be reviewed.