A Tender Spot brings together recent works by Sky Hopinka and Karrabing Film Collective that formally and narratively embody the complex relationships between indigenous communities, landscape and memory. Using multiple cinematic storytelling and documentary filmmaking techniques, these artists layer time and perspective into non-linear representations of community that extend over generations and spaces. Using historical events as an anchor — the protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota in Sky Hopinka’s work and the escape of the collective’s ancestors from the Katherine War Internment Camp in northern Australia in 1943 in the Karrabing Film Collective’s work — the films braid together individual memory, geopolitical histories, fantasy, and family to articulate contemporary subjectivities that exceed the strictures of Western ontology.

The works in this exhibition apply pressure to the presumed sovereignty and imagined hegemony of settler colonial states.  The films of Sky Hopinka and the Karrabing Film Collective elaborate distinct but complimentary narratives that coalesce the phenomenological, social, and historical experience of displacement and uprising as experienced within the colonizer state. Hopinka and the Karrabing Film Collective visualize not only the material struggle for but also the psychological benefits of a radically alternative community.


A Tender Spot: Sky Hopinka and the Karrabing Film Collective is organized by The Mistake Room and curated by Kris Kuramitsu, TMR's Deputy Director and Head of Program.



Sky Hopinka is a Ho-Chunk Nation national and descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. He was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, and Portland, Oregon and is currently based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and the facets of culture contained within. He received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images Festival, Courtisane Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Antimatter Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest, and the LA Film Festival. 

Karrabing Film Collective is a grassroots Indigenous media group consisting of over twenty members. They approach filmmaking as a mode of self-organisation and a means of investigating contemporary social conditions of inequality. Screenings and publications allow the Karrabing to develop a local artistic languages and allow audiences to understand new forms of collective Indigenous agency. Their films represent their lives, create bonds with their land and intervene in global images of Indigeneity. Their films and installations have been exhibited at Contour Biennale, Mechelen, Belgium; Berlinale Forum Expanded; Hallucinations, Athens at documenta 14; Sydney Biennale; vdrome.org; e-flux supercommunity at the Venice Biennale; Doc’s Kingdom, Lisbon; and Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, among others.

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by The Mistake Room's Board of Directors, Big Mistake Patron Group, International Council, and Contemporary Council.