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Anna Tsouhlarakis

Breath of Wind (2017)

A close-up image of a person’s bare neck is superimposed on a low-angle image of a grassy field with trees in the background.

In Breath of Wind, multimedia artist of Navajo, Creek, and Greek descent Anna Tsouhlarakis highlights the devastating long-term effects of environmental racism in her community.

In 1979, the largest radioactive spill in United States history took place on Navajo Nation land in Church Rock, New Mexico. Decades later, the 1,100 tons of uranium waste and 94 million gallons of radioactive water that seeped into the Puerco River is now dust—poison particles that are spread by the wind and continue to ravage the Navajo community, where cancer rates have doubled from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Tsouhlarakis combines images of the body and land in Breath of Wind to poetically illustrate the interdependence of the two. Throughout the video, sounds of the wind are woven through a recording of her grandmother, who tells stories in Navajo about “the Big Wind” and all that is swept up and carried in its stream. (3:16 mins., digital video)

Also on view beginning February 11 is Tsouhlarakis’s new, Wex-commissioned exhibition, The Native Guide Project: Columbus. Reframing the discourse around Native American identity, this project engaging the center's exterior and interior spaces focuses on the forced migration of Indigenous peoples, including in Central Ohio.

IMAGE CAPTION
Breath of Wind, courtesy of the artist.

More about the artist

Anna Tsouhlarakis chevron-down chevron-up

Working in sculpture, installation, video, and performance, Anna Tsouhlarakis received a BA from Dartmouth College with degrees in Native American Studies and Studio Art and an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. She currently lives in Colorado where she is an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado Boulder. Learn more about the artist on her website.

Curated by Film/Video Studio Curator Jennifer Lange.

FILM/VIDEO PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Cardinal Health

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Rohauer Collection Foundation

FILM/VIDEO STUDIO SUPPORTED IN PART BY
National Endowment for the Arts

WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Greater Columbus Arts Council 
The Wexner Family
National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio Arts Council
L Brands Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Mike and Paige Crane
Axium Packaging
CampusParc
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Nancy Kramer
Larry and Donna James
Lisa Barton
Johanna DeStefano
Jones Day
Alex and Renée Shumate

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Anna Tsouhlarakis