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About Ashley

Ashley Minner is a community based visual artist from Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a BFA in General Fine Art, an MA and an MFA in Community Art, which she earned at Maryland Institute College of Art. A member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, she has been active in the Baltimore Lumbee community for many years, and regularly visits communities throughout the U.S South and Latin America as well. Ashley works with several local and regional arts for social justice organizations including... more

Lumbee Legends

This project consists of five handmade dos-à-dos bound artist books, each featuring an oral history given by a Lumbee elder living in Baltimore (audio and transcription) and photos from the elder's life. The work is installed in listening/viewing stations, seats are rocking chairs. This work has been shown independently and in two other incarnations: Homecooked Stories at The Light Gallery in Baltimore (2010) and Hard Workin' Pilgrims: Lumbee Indians in Baltimore City Industry at Baltimore Museum of Industry (2011).

  • Let Me Be A Witness, John A. Walker

    Recorded by Ashley Minner, 2007
  • Detail, John Ander Walker (Uncle John)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • John Ander Walker (Uncle John)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • Detail, Jeanette Locklear Walker (Aunt Jeanette)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • Jeanette Locklear Walker (Aunt Jeanette)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • Detail, James Astor Sampson Sr. (My Poppy)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • James Astor Sampson Sr. (My Poppy)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • Detail, Frieda Colleen Sampson Minner (My Mom)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • Frieda Colleen Sampson Minner (My Mom)

    “Lumbee Legends” Artist’s Books, Digital Prints on Ingres, Courier New Font and Handwriting, Brass Book Screws, Audio CDs, Cotton Cases, 7 x 8.75 x .5” closed, Edition of I, 2007
  • Installation, Lumbee Legends

    Leidy Atrium Brown Center Maryland Institute College of Art 2007

Hard Workin' Pilgrims: Lumbee Indians in Baltimore City Industry

This project was funded by Maryland Traditions, the Folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council in partnership with the Baltimore Museum of Industry. It was curated by Ashley Minner. It also features Minner's work, "Lumbee Legends" (2007).

Through "Hard Workin' Pilgrims: Lumbee Indians in Baltimore City Industry," The Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) presented original artifacts, contemporary arts and crafts, and photographs from Baltimore’s Lumbee Indians. On Tuesday, November 1, 2011 the BMI honored National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month with a panel discussion and reception during which five Baltimore Lumbee Indian elders shared stories of their lives in Baltimore.

The exhibit Hard Workin’ Pilgrims: Lumbee Indians in Baltimore City Industry explored the Lumbee Indians migration from North Carolina to Baltimore City. They came, like many others seeking employment in local industries with the hopes to improve their quality of life. Thousands of Lumbee Indians settled in southeastern Baltimore concentrating in a 64-block area from Broadway to Patterson Park, many worked in drywall, sheetrock, and other construction trades, while other Lumbee Indians worked in factories, sewing plants or were self-employed.

Guest curator Ashley Minner said, “This is an unprecedented exhibition of the Lumbee experience in Baltimore City industry. It brings recognition to a vibrant community with a rich legacy that is a living part of this City's culture and history.”

Baltimore’s Lumbee Native American community has become the largest outside of the North Carolina tribal territory in existence. They have brought their culture and traditions, which they have maintained over the years. Hard Workin’ Pilgrims: Lumbee Indians in Baltimore City Industry recounts some of their little know history, their legacy in Baltimore City Industry.

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    Panel discussion featuring Lumbee elders Howard Redell Hunt, Linda Cox, Jeanette Walker and Minnie S. Maynor Photo by Sean Scheidt
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    Panel discussion featuring Lumbee elders Howard Redell Hunt, Linda Cox, Jeanette Walker and Minnie S. Maynor Photo by Sean Scheidt
  • redell-and-jeanette-hunt.jpg

    Redell and Jeanette Hunt on the occasion of Redell winning the $10,000 Suggestion Award at the General Motors Assembly Division Plant in Dundalk, 1974
  • _mg_3845.jpg

    Panel discussion featuring Lumbee elders Howard Redell Hunt, Linda Cox, Jeanette Walker and Minnie S. Maynor Photo by Sean Scheidt
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    John A. Walker gives the invocation for the reception at Baltimore Museum of Industry Photo by Sean Scheidt
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    John A. Walker cleaning his truck which was leased to Cycles Limited, 1970's
  • _mg_3763.jpg

    Lumbee elders at the exhibit Photo by Sean Scheidt
  • _mg_3743.jpg

    Reception Programs at Baltimore Museum of Industry Photo by Sean Scheidt
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    Lumbee Elders admiring the exhibit at Baltimore Museum of Industry Photo by Sean Scheidt
  • hal-hunt.jpg

    Hal Hunt, former Foreman, Baltimore City Forestry Division

That Same Spirit! Eastern Carolina Native Gospel Music Alive in Baltimore City

This project was funded by Maryland Traditions, the Folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council in partnership with South Broadway Baptist Church. It was curated by Ashley Minner.

Members of Baltimore’s Native American Community, with strong roots in Eastern North Carolina, spent a year studying and teaching their unique, living tradition of Eastern Carolina Native American style Southern Gospel music. They then presented a public program showcasing their work. It was their hope to increase awareness and recognition not only of the art form but also of their community.

Native American people from Eastern North Carolina migrated to Baltimore City post World War II, seeking employment in industry with hopes of improving their quality of life. Eventually, thousands of Natives settled in Southeast Baltimore concentrating in a 64-block area from Broadway to Patterson Park. With them, they brought their unique form of worship, which has been maintained, passed down and is practiced to this day.
Local Singer Linda Cox, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, says “Gospel music is a joy to me. It’s soothing to my heart and I hope people will enjoy our type of Southern Gospel music. We are country singers; we’re from the South, from Carolina, from Indian Country. We keep singing. We’re carrying the tradition of what we were raised on.”

"That Same Spirit!" included an intergenerational Gospel Singing featuring members of Baltimore’s Native American community and a panel discussion on the history and contemporary practice of the art form, followed by a reception with traditional Native American refreshments.

Roots / Raíces

These works are part of my ongoing exploration of the many intersections of the Indigenous and African Diasporas, of which my tribe, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, is a part. The portraits that currently exist are of loved ones from Panama and the Dominican Republic.

I traveled to Panama for the first time in June 2012, through an Alternate ROOTS Artistic Assistance Professional Development grant. I chose to go to the town of Portobelo. The people of Portobelo are descendants of the Cimarrones, enslaved Africans who escaped their Spanish masters and lived together as outlaws in the jungle. One of the first parts of the “New World” to be pillaged, Christopher Columbus originally named the port "Puerto Bello," meaning "Beautiful Port," in 1502.

The Cimarrones and their descendents, like the Lumbee, are a people of resistance. Like us, they are resilient, they are survivors, they are artists and although it’s often an unpopular truth, WE ARE RELATED.

I met my friend, Gustavo Esquina, through the Taller Portobelo Norte Artist Residency Program (Studio North, Portobelo). Gustavo is an extremely talented multidisciplinary artist for social justice in his community.

During my stay, we collaborated on a painting, a portrait of Gustavo as a “Moderno Rey Cimarron Congo” or “Modern Cimarron Congo King.” First, we discussed the content and concept of the portrait, in which Gustavo appears dressed in his contemporary soccer shirt as well as a traditional Cimarron crown, to the point that he is the living legacy of his ancestors. Gustavo helped with the drawing of the Cimarron crown. He is also the author and painter of the text in the piece, “Moderno Rey Cimarron Congo Hijo de Portobelo. Tierra con vestigios de Africa, selva, salitre y sol; Modern Cimarron Congo King Son of Portobelo. Land with vestiges of Africa, jungle, sea salt and sun.” This piece was a continuation of the same concept I had been exploring through my Exquisite Lumbees series, which is comprised of illuminated life-sized portraits of Lumbee people of my own generation, each dressed in clothing of their choice, each defying stereotypes about Lumbees and all Native people just by being visible, alive and effortlessly beautiful.

All of these portraits speak to our truth of living/walking in two worlds; of being the living legacy of our people and honoring that in our contemporary existence.

Moreover, since my last visit to Panama, I learned at a conference in my own tribal homeland that for some years, more Natives were shipped out of the port of Charleston to the Caribbean as slaves than were Africans shipped in. Natives in the Southeast United States and the peoples of the Caribbean are quite literally related. More to come.

  • Self Portrait

    Pencil, Acrylic Wash on Paper, 9x12" Portobelo, 2012
  • Yaneca

    10 x 12" Graphite and Acrylic on Paper Portobelo, 2012
  • El Nini

    Pencil, Acrylic Wash on Paper, 9x12" Portobelo, 2012
  • Gustavo, Moderno Rey Cimarron Congo

    Charcoal Pencil and Acrylic Paint on Rives BFK Text by Gustavo Esquina 30 x 22.25" Portobelo, 2012
  • Junior

    Watercolor and Pencil on Paper 11 x 15" 2013
  • Pajarito

    Acrylic and charcoal on wood, 19.75 x 15.75" Portobelo 2014

Exquisite Lumbees

This body of work originates in my understanding of the community I grew up in, the Lumbee community of Southeast Baltimore. It comes from curly headed youngns, country talk, soul food, and hip-hop; from Sunday School, homemade tattoos and row homes. It comes from culture class, eagle feathers, stories about knife fights told on stoops and laughter in the street. It is inspired by kinship traced through generations and the “meanness” that makes us all cousins and mutual protectors.

It flows from a desire to see our people healthy and prosperous-- living heirs of a rich legacy, the most recent chapter in the history of a proud and fierce nation.

I try to uplift our people in ways that are both honest and in a manner that they want to be seen, with Honor and Respect. I chose to do this through portraits in photography and a hand-made artist book.

The men and women who were asked to participate in this project are all part of what I consider to be “my generation.” We are close in age. Many of us grew up together and despite the different paths we have chosen for ourselves in life, we are still close and see each other regularly to this day. Those who agreed to visit the photography studio were encouraged to wear what they liked best. We did several sessions with different groups of people. Each time, the entire group would stand behind the camera along with the photographer to encourage and coach the person whose portrait was being taken. Each person was given the opportunity to choose the photograph they felt best represented them. Text incorporated into the portraits, written by us, gives viewers a glimpse into our hopes for one other and the depths of ourselves. “The Exquisite Lumbee” book exists to demonstrate that, although we as a people run the gamut of skin colors, hair colors and hair textures, we do have a distinctive quality, character and style. We recognize each other. We are exquisite.

  • The Exquisite Lumbee Cadavre Esquis Artists Book

    “The Exquisite Lumbee” Cadavre Esquis Artist’s Book, covers printed on Ingres, pages printed on photo stock, stab binding, 11 ¾ x 13 ½” Edition of I, Digital Photographs by Sean Scheidt, Ashley Minner, 2010.
  • The Exquisite Lumbee Cadavre Esquis Artists Book

    “The Exquisite Lumbee” Cadavre Esquis Artist’s Book, covers printed on Ingres, pages printed on photo stock, stab binding, 11 ¾ x 13 ½” Edition of I, Digital Photographs by Sean Scheidt, Ashley Minner, 2010.
  • The Exquisite Lumbee Cadavre Esquis Artists Book

    “The Exquisite Lumbee” Cadavre Esquis Artist’s Book, covers printed on Ingres, pages printed on photo stock, stab binding, 11 ¾ x 13 ½” Edition of I, Digital Photographs by Sean Scheidt, Ashley Minner, 2010.
  • The Exquisite Lumbee Cadavre Esquis Artists Book

    “The Exquisite Lumbee” Cadavre Esquis Artist’s Book, covers printed on Ingres, pages printed on photo stock, stab binding, 11 ¾ x 13 ½” Edition of I, Digital Photographs by Sean Scheidt, Ashley Minner, 2010.
  • C.J.

    Text by Clayton Sarvis Jr. Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010
  • Ashley

    Text by Ashley Minner Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010
  • Jeremy

    Text by Jeremy Locklear Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010
  • Keith

    Text by E. Keith Colston Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010
  • Tonya

    Text by Tonya Oxendine Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010
  • Tonto

    Text by Dean "Tonto" Cox Sr. Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010

Ashley's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.