Mentorship and Matriarchy

May 8, 2022 @ 2:00 pm
Portland Art Museum, Whitsell Auditorium
1219 SW Park Ave

The artists highlighted in the exhibition Mesh reflect on their experiences in the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation mentorship program, the value of guided support within the arts, and the role and lineage of women’s leadership within each artist’s practice. Join us for a closing panel discussion moderated by interdisciplinary artist Brenda Mallory, and featuring Mesh artists Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Lehuauakea, Leah Rose Kolakowski, and Lynnette Haozous in a deeper discussion around the intersections of mentorship and matriarchy within their work and greater communities.

Ka’ila Farrell-Smith (b. 1982) is a Klamath Modoc artist who works and lives in Modoc Point, Oregon. In addition to degrees from Pacific Northwest College of Art and Portland State University, her work is informed by work with Wasco fiber artist weaver Pat Courtney Gold and a mentorship with Coquille/Coos carver Shirod Younker. Farrell-Smith is a 2021 Hallie Ford Fellow with the Ford Family Foundation, a curator, and certified Wilderness First Responder.

Lynnette Haozous (b. 1985) is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is Chiricahua Apache and a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, with Diné and Taos Pueblo heritage. In addition to a conventional studio arts education, she has worked closely with Diné mentor Nanibah Chacon to hone her mural painting skills. Haozous received a degree in social work, which informs her use of art as a tool for teaching and advocacy.

Lehuauakea (b. 1996) is a māhū mixed-Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) interdisciplinary artist from Pāpaʻikou on Moku O Keawe, the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, who lives in Seattle, Washington. The artist earned a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in painting with a minor in  Art + Ecology. Their mentor Wesley Sen is a deep influence on their work with kapa; mixed media artist Brenda Mallory, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, was a guide for their recent interdisciplinary practice.

Leah Rose Kolakowski (b. 1989) is a member of the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Tribe, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received a BFA from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design with a concentration in darkroom photography, alternative processes, and in-camera experimental techniques, and recently apprenticed with Chemehuevi photographer Cara Romero.

Brenda Mallory lives in Portland, Oregon. She grew up in Oklahoma and is a  citizen of Cherokee Nation. Texture and repeated rhythmic forms are  instrumental to Mallory’s abstract compositions. Using mainly reclaimed  materials, she explores ideas of disruption, repair, and interconnections in long established systems in nature and human cultures.

She received a BA in Linguistics & English from UCLA and a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Mallory has received grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, Ford Family Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council. Awards include the Eiteljorg Museum Contemporary Native Art Fellowship, NACF National Fellowship, and Ucross Native Fellowship Residency. She has attended multiple residencies including Anderson Ranch, Bullseye Glass, Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking at Sitka, Crows Shadow, Pulp & Deckle Papermaking, and Glean. Her work is represented by Russo Lee in Portland.

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PLEASE NOTE: COVID-19 vaccine cards or a negative COVID test result are required for admissions into this program. COVID tests can be either PCR or rapid antigen and must be taken within a 72-hour window within a 72-hour window prior to the start of the program. Masks are highly encouraged.


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.

Gallery view of Lynnette Haozous, “Into the Sun,” 2021