They’ll Put Your Life to Rest
(mixed media; 2020)
“Yá’át’ééh, shi éi Julie Fiveash yinishyé. Kinyaa’áanii nishłí’, Naakai Dine’é bashishchíín, Táchii’nii dashicheii, Bilagáana dashinálí.
My name is Julie Fiveash, I am Kinyaa’áanii born for Naakai Dine’é. My maternal grandfather’s clan is Táchii’nii and my paternal grandfather’s clan is Bilagaana. My pronouns are they/them/theirs and I identify as non-binary.
My piece is centered on my grandmother, June Benally, who I lost last year in the middle of the world falling apart. I didn’t get to see her very much before she died due to the pandemic, and that eats aways at me every day. Her life was interwoven into mine so that when she left, it felt like I was picking at every strand that I could still hold onto. The strands here are bright and looping, thick and wide, changing color as life and events happen but staying open to new possibilities. I’ve been drawing big loops lately and I like that I don’t know exactly where they’re going, but I let my hand find a path.
Regarding some of the text in this piece, I had gifted my grandma a rug I had wove, the first and only Navajo rug I’ve made. It was small, and it didn’t have that many colors but it took me three days to finish and I love it. It was an experience every day making that rug. I gifted the final result to my grandma, but I don’t remember what she said about it. The longer it gets without her around, I worry about the things I’ll forget. I want to weave in the things she told me, the funny things she worried about.
I’ve included some pictures I have of her. Seeing her young, smiling, excited, I see the person she was and will continue to be even after her death. I didn’t know this version of her, I wish I had. This version lives in pictures and stories now, and I just have to do my best in hoping I hold onto them. The loops have started to cover her image, time is passing and she fades just a little bit with it. But I’d like her to stay just a little bit longer, so I remember things. I go to bed thinking about how she was always the first one up and asking me where we kept the creamer. I try to remember all of her stories as best I can before they’re covered up forever.”
Julie Fiveash is Kinyaa’áanii born for Naakai Dine’é. Their maternal grandfather’s clan is Táchii’nii and their paternal grandfather’s clan is Bilagaana. Julie’s pronouns are they/them/theirs and they identify as non-binary. They are from Yuma, Arizona and currently reside in Los Angeles. They received their B.A. in Studio Art from Dartmouth College. Their experience in college creating zines and publishing comics in the college newspaper encouraged them to keep making comics and they moved to San Francisco shortly after graduating. There, they managed a comic book store while traveling to sell their work at zinefests and comic festivals. Their work has been featured in two Dirty Diamond comic collections and has been a featured artist on the “Baylies.” They’ve moderated panels at the Queer Comics Conference in 2019 and was recently featured in “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Quarantine: Recipe Comics for Social Distancing.” They are currently wrapping up their MLIS degree at UCLA’s Department of Information Studies and continues to make art and comics.