by Laia Nadal
I often think about films that, as Susan Sontang would say, are a vast repository of images that make it difficult for us to forget. They haunt us, and state outright: “This is what human beings are capable of doing”. Works that empower people to speak up about their experiences, like Jennifer Montgomery’s Home Avenue, come to mind—perhaps because I have been through a similar situation—where she relates how she was sexually assaulted in front of her house. I also think about films by Arthur Jafa, which serve as a meditation on the injustices against, as well as a celebration of, Black lives.
Likewise, Fox Maxy’s films work both as a discussion of the significant marginalization of Native Americans and how colonization attempts to erase Native American culture, and as a fight for their preservation and a better future. Not only does she speak on subjects that have been challenged throughout history, but also depicts her personal community, relationship with the land, research into her own identity, and homecoming to her roots.
We witness the implementation of those subjects in films like San Diego or Maat, where Maxy collects and puts together fragments of her culture and her experience, celebrating the land in a uniquely immersive manner, while also focusing on her concerns in the real (and virtual) worlds. Maxy takes all the means within her grasp to craft a non-traditional film with singular sound editing and montage, which communicates a strong sense of costumbrismo while capturing the everyday life and customs within Indigenous culture.
Not everything we see is idealistic: a man climbing over Trump’s US-Mexico border wall, California consumed by flames while firefighters demanding a decent wage, invisible struggles, silenced voices. There’s also a clear discontent in her filmography, a raw and violent style, through which Maxy wants us to be aware of the world’s atrocities, and to those that we have turned a blind eye to.
In an interview for Teen Vogue, Maxy states that it was the land that shaped her. Yet there are so many layers that shape who we are, for Maxy also challenges the normative assumptions about gender, breaking through limitations of individual expression, which in parallel are translated into her art and the media she uses.
Fox Maxy’s oeuvre constitutes a vital and resilient force in the contemporary world, a reference and a voice for those who need to be heard and don’t want to be forgotten.
Laia Nadal is a non-binary artist from Barcelona. Over the years they have worked in many cultural fields, including audiovisual, music, and graphic design. [Twitter] [Letterboxd]
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2 thoughts on “Fox Maxy: Framing the Land”
Spreading awareness! Really a cool thing to do. I ❤ it. Keep up the great work.