Jesi Naomi

Photo of female wearing hat and holding out hands
Jesi Naomi, Whiskeytown Artist-in-Residence for Fall 2023.
For three weeks in October 2023, Jesi Naomi camped in the park and utilized Whiskeytown’s land and water to inspire her paintings of Wintu elders. Naomi herself is Wintu, the indigenous people of this area. During her residency, Naomi also facilitated a beargrass braiding and Wintu storytelling public event with Wintu leader Michelle Radcliff-Garcia.

Enjoy reading about Naomi’s Artist-in-Residence experience below and view her four works and descriptions. The remaining text on this page is in Naomi's own words...

During my Artist-in-Residency, I had a lot of time to be with the water, the reservoir that covers what used to be historical village sites. I was also able to explore plant regrowth after the 2018 Carr fire. Learning the relationships between fire and plant life came up a lot during my residency. For my Wintu ancestors, places were traditionally cleansed by fires. People would then harvest young plants to be a part of weavings. Indeed, fire was a part of the weaving process.

Orangish painting of indigenous person wearing head dress.
This goes out to those who came before us and those who are still here dancing. This painting is influenced by traditional California native ceremony and dance as an inscription of rhythm, steps and honor given back to these lands. In Wintu, ḰALAQ means feather and ChONOS is dance. Mixed Media on canvas. Acrylics and Oil Pastel.
Modern Times Ancient Rhymes
Modern urbanscapes stare us in the face each day. I chose reprinted contemporary magazine clippings juxtaposed with indigenous dancers and feathered relatives. If we listen close enough, even in the midst of concrete, we can still hear the rattle of stripped bark skirts shaking and stepping. Layered Collage and Oil Pastel on Canvas.

“PUIKEN LOOMIS “ - Norel Muk Wintu Relative

For some faces like Miss Loomis, a member of my extended family, I created water lines across the cheeks and a nose that blends into a landscape of mountains on the horizon. This depiction reminds me of the many tribes with tattoo markings on their face that relate to where they are from. Mixed Media on canvas. Acrylics & Oil Pastel.

Last updated: December 14, 2023

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