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Lilly Manycolors


Lilly E. Manycolors is a mixed raced single mother and interdisciplinary artist known for her emotionally-excavating artworks and performances. Lilly’s artistic works are deeply rooted in a psycho-spiritual process that is greatly informed by her journey of researching and reconnecting to her Afro-Indigenous histories and traditions, reconciling her Anglo-colonizer heritage, and the Anishinaabe teachings gifted to her by Anishinaabe elder’s in her life. “The work is constantly moving towards racial reconciliation and evolution – where is my place as a mixed raced/culturally dislocated person? What will people like me be in this emerging future? How can I exist in a good way when colonialism has made me a cultural orphan? Can we ever exist outside of colonial race/ethnic systems?” Lilly draws from her personal journeys to create pieces that offer safer spaces for decolonial dialogue, intimate connections, and new ways of being. Her art focuses on the human condition, and relationships to Land, bringing into conversation experiences of otherness, transformation, trauma and healing, gender, and possibilities of being one’s complex self. Through her pieces she invites her audience to traverse vast emotional terrains with her and explore the depths of personhood together. “How do we feel and accept the fullness of pain and suffering, and still believe we will survive them? What relationships are we cultivating between our own body and the bodies of others? How do we live in the in-between spaces, and live well?” These questions and more she brings alive through her various art forms, mostly self-taught, including visual art, dance, poetry, and performance art.

* Lilly grew up between the United States and Australia with her single mother. Her childhood was wrought with poverty and abuse, leading her to leave home at fifteen and drop out of school at sixteen. She often describes her childhood traumas as research for her art works. Moving every few years, disconnected from her family, histories and heritages, she struggled to feel a sense of belonging to any one place or person, including herself. In her later years she began to make her way to a sense of wholeness finding the red road through Anishinaabe elders and the teachings they gifted to her, supporting her sovereignty to live as her intersectional self as she worked to build a relationship to the traditions of her father’s claims of Afro-Choctaw heritage and stories. With the birth of her daughter came another catalyst and unearthed her artwork series, Seven Womxn Series, which harnesses the powerful lessons of her motherhood, decolonization and trauma integration. She enrolled for her BA in 2015 at Goddard College with a focus in psychology and decolonization, then, as a Presidential Fellow of the Global Arts and Culture program at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence RI. Previously a NEFA Creative City grantee with her public art installation RED DRESS LODGE which highlighted the epidemic of Murdered, Missing Indigenous Womxn. Lilly’s current works are focused on decolonial emotionality of ethnically/racially mixed and Indigenous peoples in colonial places and what the present and future holds for mixed-Afro-Indigenous people. Her second most recent installation was a sculpture in Boston’s Southend that highlighted the continued presence and resilience of the local Indigenous tribes. Lilly’s future works focus on racial divestment, cultural liberation and re-location and seeking a future of identity sovereignty and Land-human relationship restoration. For more info visit:

Lilly Manycolors
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