Bio and Artist Statement
Bachelor of Fine Arts at Marylhurst University and Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Studio Practice at Portland State University.
Rochelle is a member of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation. She is very involved in the Native American community having spent the last ten years as Coordinator of the Native American Education Program in Vancouver, WA. She currently is an Adjunct Professor of Art at Portland Community College, Marylhurst University and affiliated faculty with the Indigenous Nations Studies Program at Portland State University having taught a course on Indigenous Critique of Native American Art. Rochelle served as the coordinator of the Northwest Indian Story Teller Program with the Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. Rochelle maintains an active studio practice, with over 20 solo, competitive group and invitational exhibitions and portfolio exchanges dealing with Indigenous inappropriate appropriations.
Rochelle Kulei’s work embraces her Native identity and the Contemporary world that she is very much a part of. Her choices of materials reflect the craftsmanship, storytelling, and traditional materials that are integral in the Indigenous culture. However, being raised in the urban lifestyle she has been influenced by the contemporary materials that exist in her world. The artist intertwines the Native craftsmanship and the contemporary materials that seem to be essential for her to understand her identity, living in a colonialized Eurocentric World.
Artist Rochelle Kulei addresses the issues that affect many Native tribes on and off the reservation. The living conditions of her family, her extended family, as well as her Native American community are not always a positive reflection on their culture. On the other hand, they make the most out of what they have and continue to celebrate their Indianess.