Hopinka on Abstraction, Translation, and his MacArthur Fellowship

“I have a pretty unique upbringing, but so do so many other Native peoples in this country, and that’s the thing about it: there is no singular, essentialized idea of what it means to be Native, to be Indigenous.” On the occasion of being named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow, Sky Hopinka joins Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry on WNYC’s The Takeaway for a discussion on the roles of translation, trauma, and identity in his abstract films.

A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Hopinka was born in Ferndale, Washington, far from the tribes he identifies with.

“My indigenous tribes aren’t from the region that I grew up, and also family was part of these different communities, and I’m not. So there’s the idea of being in a homeland, being a guest and a visitor and really having those questions in my head from an early age: what does it mean to move around the country and be in different homelands and be welcomed by different Native peoples?”

Listen to The Takeaway here.