Natalie Ball was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She earned her bachelor's degree in Ethnic Studies in 2005, furthered her education in New Zealand, at Massey University, where she attained her master's degree in Maori Visual Arts, and earned her MFA from Yale University School of Art in painting and printmaking in 2018. She currently resides with her three children on the Klamath Tribes former reservation, Chiloquin, Oregon where she works for the Klamath Tribes. Natalie Ball is an Indigenous artist who examines internal and external discourses that shape Indian identity through contemporary installation art.
I believe historical discourses of Native Americans have constructed a limited and inconsistent visual archive that currently misrepresents our past experiences and misinforms current expectations. I excavate hidden histories and dominant narratives to artistically deconstruct them through a theoretical framework of auto-ethnography to move “Indian” outside of governing discourses in order to rebuild a new visual genealogy in refusal to line-up with the many constructed existences of Native Americans.
Because auto-ethnography refers to the self, my location as a descendent of African slaves, English soldiers, and a great great granddaughter of Kientpaush, also known as Captain Jack who led Modoc resistance during the Modoc War of 1872 informs my work. Within the thematic focus of my work and because of my descendancy, it is here where my artistic approach and interest lies. With degrees in Ethnic Studies and Indigenous Visual Arts, my work is always in discussion with racial narratives critical to understanding of both the self and the nation and necessarily, our shared experiences and histories. My art is not limited textually, as it goes beyond the language of memory to allow for witnessing that does not diminish the past or the present.
She has exhibited nationally, at the Seattle Art Museam, Portland Art Museum, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, SOMArts, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as internationally, in distant lands such as Hungary and New Zealand.
She has also been awarded numerous awards, including the MRG Foundation's Lilla Jewel Fund Award and Oregon Arts Commission's Joan Shipley Award.
Links to Natalie Ball’s work: