I Can't Speak
This is my self portrait portraying emotion: worried. Worried that I'm not learning fast enough, and frustrated that I can't speak Iñupiat fluently. It is frustrating having the desire to speak but nothing comes out. I want to learn but I can't find my native tongue. My Aaka (grandmother) was bed rest from Parkinson's Disease and only spoke to me in Iñupiat, but I could not understand. I had to communicate to my Aaka through my dad, who also did not speak Iñupiat fluently from the boarding school days. He could understand what she was saying, but he doesnt speak and translated to me in English. My qupak design is on my throat to represent that I'm trying to learn to speak in Inupiat. Willow is the strength and resilience of us all learning the language and preserving it. The blue coming out of the roots of my hair si the frustration of trying to remember my ancestral knowledge and language. Inside of the mouth are lights and it glows blue with the word Iñupiat inside. The traditional tattoos show all but one milestone for learning to speak fluently. Iridescent paint is around the traditional tattoos to show that I am Iñupiat and that they are sacred, a big part of my spirituality, my accomplishments and also representing my culture.