Adrienne Keene comes from generations of Cherokee women who made beautiful things with their hands and seeks to carry out these legacies of art, family, and love with her artistic practice. Her work is about reclamation and restoration of cultural practices and identity while weaving a world that holds the contradictions and joys of who she is as an Indigenous person.
Keene uses traditional Cherokee art forms like basketry, beadwork, and twining with contemporary and found materials, using non-traditional, recycled materials, LED lights, and electroluminescent wire. Baskets and bags can carry materials and carry culture, and through the materials in the baskets she creates—electronic materials, refuse of technology and western society, other carriers of culture—language, sounds, songs, and even light can be carried through as well. In her work she is focused on Indigenous (and specifically Cherokee/Gituwa) futures–what are the ways that Indigenous people exist in the future, and how can we build toward that future together? Within themes of reclamation, reconnection, relationality, creation, and un-drowning Keene examines the impacts of settler colonialism on her family and seeks to show that Indigenous people, our voices, our cultural practices, and our presence can and will exist in the future, and to challenge preconceived notions and stereotypes of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous art.