Images courtesy of the artists

BCA 27th Drawing Show

Yušká: Uncoil | Juried and curated by Erin Genia

BCA 27th Drawing Show — Yušká: Uncoil

On view: May 11 – August 3, 2024

Juried and curated by Erin Genia

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?

Public Programs

Opening Reception

Friday, May 17 | 6–9pm

BCA Mills Gallery, 551 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

Join us for the public opening reception for BCA 27th Drawing Show — Yušká: Uncoil, 6-9pm in the Mills Gallery. Concurrently, next door from 5–8:30pm, there’s an open house in the Artist Studios Building holding our BCA Studio Residency.

Clay and rope: Exhibition-related Public Performances

 by Constanza Alarcón Tennen and Robbie Moser-Saito

Thursday, May 30 | 6–7pm

BCA Mills Gallery, 551 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

Join us on Thursday, May 30, 2024, from 6-7 pm at the Mills Gallery for performances by two artists whose work is on view in the current exhibition: 27th Drawing Show – Yušká: Uncoil. 

Listen as artist Constanza Alarcón Tennen activates her sound-producing sculpture Tu, yo, y todo el viento entremedio II, a stoneware polytonal whistle for two mouths. The sculpture will be activated by Alarcón Tennen and Erin Genia, curator of this exhibition.

Experience artist Robbie Moser-Saito’s performance with his hand-built sculptural work Kaizuka. Moser-Saito’s performance is centered on the untying of a Japanese square knot that is holding together a vessel made of unfired clay, balancing precariously different materialities.


About the 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, BCA invites an accomplished guest 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 Show curators have included Chanel Thervil (2019), Robert Moeller (2018), and Susan Metrican (2015).