Métis artist, historian, and curator
Dylan Miner is a Métis artist, historian, and curator who teaches at Michigan State University. His artistic practice emerges from his ongoing involvement in radical politics. A key facet to his oeuvre, Miner makes unambiguously political relief prints and graphic arts, commonly employing found or quotidian materials in their production.
Recently, his printmaking practice has begun to investigate the materiality of the printer’s block, incising and printing from wooden objects such as baseball bats, hockey sticks, and canoe paddles. Moreover, Miner’s practice involves ongoing with Indigenous youth, having worked with Native communities in the US, Canada, Australia, and Norway. In his project Anishinaabensag Biimskowebshkigewag (Native Bikes), he works with youth to build bicycles based on traditional knowledge. He recently produced a body of work on Indigenous prophecies, and is beginning new projects dealing with forests and with Métis medicine. Miner is a founding member of the print collective Justseeds, which was awarded the Grand Prix at the 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Slovenia. He has extensively and exhibited widely.
In a never-ending world of late-capitalist consumption, where mass-produced commodities and highly designed products are naturalized, the creation of hand-made objects becomes an overt act of resistance. By using the language of anti-capitalist activism and Indigenous visuality, I make intentionally unrefined objects that, if nothing else, challenge the ambiguity of the elite visual artworld by operating within a tradition of political didacticism. Through the production of print-based installations, I evoke the tangibility of the printed form in an attempt to narrativize a particular anti-colonial and anti-capitalist desire. As an artist, I have become a storyteller whose images narrate stories in a uniquely visual fashion based in an anti-authoritarian tradition.
Incorporating found materials, such as re-used grocery sacks and cardboard, I see my artmaking practice as the embodiment of my own radical politics and everyday experiences as a human being. The printed image and the materials that I work with remain a quotidian expression of the day-to-day realities in which I find myself. While society has moved toward a consumer-based model, the print becomes a small (yet productive) expression against the daily alienation I feel. My objects mark my existence and declare that I am alive. Just like ancestral petroglyphs and cave paintings, these small printed acts make similar marks on the worlds. As Métis martyr Louis Riel so powerfully articulates: ‘My people will sleep for 100 years, and when they awake, it will be the artists who give them back their spirit.’