East Tennessee State University’s Slocumb Galleries hosts Cherokee artist Jeff Marley’s exhibit “Decolonial Identity.”

The ETSU Department of Art & Design and Slocumb Galleries in partnership with the Honors College, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Multicultural Center will be hosting the exhibit from Sept. 19 through Oct. 7.

A reception including an artist’s talk and performance will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Slocumb Galleries with the talk and performance starting at 6 p.m.

As an enrolled member of the Eastern band of Cherokee Indians, Marley’s work explores decolonization in ways that allows him to reconcile issues of race, identity, and culture, as well as his place within those concepts.

He feels it is not his role or place to be an informant to the occidental culture on the formal aspects of his culture, but rather to use culturally based concepts to create an experience that facilitates a deepened understanding.

He accomplishes this through a variety of mediums including installation, performance, painting, and video. Marley believes that working from, engaging in, and creating from within his culture, allows one to exist in a place where the senses are free to engage the experiential world.

Mr. Marley’s exhibit brings the heritage of the Cherokee and a piece of their culture to the students, faculty and community of ETSU for them to explore and learn from.

When asked what the exhibit brings to campus in her opinion, freshman Elizabeth Wilson said, “It brings a sense of cultural diversity that is underappreciated in many aspects of campus life. It is easy to forget about minorities and by Mr. Marley showcasing his exhibit, it helps shed more light on the Cherokee culture and in turn brings to mind other minorities and how they can be center stage and given the recognition they deserve too.”

The exhibit is free for anyone from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday who would like to come and see the exhibit.

On display are a number of masks and unique sculptures created by hand as well as a video instillation shot and edited by the artist himself.

Jeff Marely is a member of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He received his BFA in Studio Art: Painting & Drawing from Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, in 2005 and his MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont, in 2013.

To learn more about Jeff and his current and previous works visit: http://jeffmarley.com.