John Feodorov


A series of paintings and prints question the ways colonization shapes identity.

John Feodorov. Memories of a Suburban Ind'n #4, 2023. Acrylic, latex, collage, sand, and graphite on wood panel. 60 x 60 inches
  • June 6 - 27, 2024
  • Opening: Thursday, June 6, 6:00 — 8:00pm

In Assimilations, John Feodorov examines his mixed Navajo (Diné) and Euro-American heritage, rooted in the complex history of the United States. Grappling with the enduring legacy of displacement, disconnection, and cultural imposition, his paintings respond to an early 20th-century Christian hymn book written in Navajo, which was passed down to Feodorov by his mother, and was once utilized by Pentecostal missionaries to influence tribal spiritual beliefs. Within their playful yet deliberate color fields, he incorporates the hymns, historical hometown maps, and other Native and American iconography.

“As a teenager, I secretly wondered what it meant to adopt the religion and worldview of the colonizer,” he says. “My unease grew in my early twenties and ultimately led me to split from Christianity. However, I began to recognize that the effects of colonization continued to linger within me despite my early efforts to purge them.”

Displayed with the paintings, a series of prints, titled Ambivalence, reference Feodorov’s love of old Westerns as a child, juxtaposing photographs of family members on horseback with stills of Hollywood Indians being shot off their steeds. Together, this pairing of work bridges personal narrative with broader sociopolitical discourse, prompting critical dialogue about identity, spirituality, and place—especially in the face of ongoing tensions surrounding nationalism, immigration, and decolonization across the country.

This exhibition was supported by a 4Culture Arts Project Grant.

About the Artist

John Feodorov grew up in the suburbs of Southern California in the city of Whittier, just east of Los Angeles. As a child, he and his family made annual visits to his grandparent’s homestead in New Mexico, and his time spent there continues to influence his creative practice. Feodorov has been featured in several publications, such as Time and Time Again by Lucy R. Lippard, Art + Religion, edited by Aaron Rosen, and Manifestations, edited by Dr. Nancy Marie Mithlo. He is also included in the first season of the PBS series Art in the Twenty-First Century. In 2023, he created a large four-panel public artwork for the Washington State Convention Center Summit Building titled Four Views on a River, addressing the historical exploitation of the Duwamish River—which was declared a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001. Feodorov served as an Arts Commissioner for the City of Seattle from 2000 to 2003 and is currently Associate Professor of Art at Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.