Studio Visit: artist Sarah Biscarra-Dilley

Sarah Biscarra-Dilley has spent the last few years living and working in Oakland, or what she calls the unceded land of the Ohlone people. This is an important distinction for Sarah, who is currently studying for her PHD in Native American studies from UC Davis. Sarah’s work is anchored in not only her own lived experiences but also those of her family, ancestors, and people. She uses found footage, cut paper, archival material, handwork, language and thread to weave a colorful tapestry of resilience, loss, and community. Sarah is one of the founding members of the Black Salt Collective, a California-based all women of color art collective. They are currently working on their first book, expected Spring 2018.

Of her work and its foundations in her studies, Sarah says, “US law is permeable whenever it needs to be, especially when it comes to land and Indigenous people. Studying it can be really overwhelming – making work is a huge part of how I absorb and make sense of all this information in the ongoing contexts. It’s been part of grounding my methodology in our own knowledge, like language. From what I have learned from related languages, Šmuwič and Samala, what I am just beginning to learn from Tiłhini, is how active these languages are. There’s nothing passive about the world they speak to. Just like visual art, there are things our languages are capable of representing that English cannot.”