marcella ernest (Ojibwe)

Marcella Ernest



Assistant Professor

Marcella (Ojibwe) is an interdisciplinary artist and community-engaged scholar. She creates video art and soundscapes using poetic imagery and abstract narratives. Her award-winning pieces are screened and exhibited in museums, fine art galleries, and film festivals globally. Before arriving at the UNM Department of Art for a Post-Doctoral Fellowship, she was teaching courses in American Indian Studies at the University of California Los Angeles and was a Yale University Fellow in the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Marcella uses a collision of electronic media, archival materials, found footage, sound design, and photography to engage with relationships between Indigenous languages, memory, and land. Her abstract filmmaking employs soundscapes, rhythm, multi-media installations, large-scale projections, and experimental aesthetics to address critical issues of gender, sexuality, and history.

As an Ojibwe artist and scholar, her work critiques heteronormativity as logics of colonial power that are created by Western concepts of the gender binary. She also examines how Native art makes critical interventions that are aesthetically and intellectually arranged with the intention of displacing master narratives. She received a PhD in American Studies at the University of New Mexico documenting how film and photography – historically used by non-Native people as a tool of colonialism – are being reclaimed by the visual and sonic scholarship of contemporary Native artists. Marcella is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Native Voices MA program and obtained her BA in Ethnic Studies with a minor in film studies from Mills College.