Maya Tihtiyas Attean ’23—a Wabanaki artist raised on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation (Alnabe Menahan)—may be a nontraditional student, but she knows her unique path to MECA&D was the key to her focus what is important and her discipline in giving work the time it deserves. And she is excited about what’s next for her work with the support of this community.
MECA&D has helped me understand my own work tremendously and provided much-valued insight. MECA&D has already helped me grow so much as an artist, opening my eyes to different techniques and ways of thinking about art.
Attean started photographing as a way to document her identity, struggles with mental illness, and her ongoing battle with chronic health issues. Before transferring to MECA&D in 2021, Attean studied graphic design and photography at Southern Maine Community College.
Earlier this year, the Portland Press Herald called Attean’s photography series, Nests, "...powerful and discomfiting, evidence of a considerable talent that will be interesting to watch develop."
I started this series as a way to document myself during a time when I’ve found myself increasingly isolated, mentally, and physically ill,” explains Attean. “I have found comfort in my surroundings, the things I collect that make up ‘home.’ Like a nest of a bird, I wanted to capture the chaotic nature of my home, and the environment that not only reflects who I am but provides a sanctuary in this cataclysmic world.
In addition to pursuing her BFA, Attean works as the studio manager for the Bakery Photo Collective and continues to foster relationships with artists in the area.