Lilla Jewel Award Committee
The Lilla Jewel Award is given once a year to womxn, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary artists whose work supports and is rooted in social, disability, gender, environmental, economic and/or racial justice. The Award Committee is composed entirely of previous Lilla Jewel Award recipients.
Tazha Williams | Interdisciplinary Artist
Tazha Williams is an Interdisciplinary Artist, Graphic Designer, Model and Equity Advocate. All of her work is a means to explore identity, healing and freedom. Tazha’s creative process stems from her vibrant, lived experience as a queer femme of African descent. Her work is an ode to the narratives of her creative and resilient ancestors. Tazha was the 2017 Lilla Jewel Award winner of Oregon’s MRG Foundation. Her work has also been featured in the San Diego Union Tribune, on The Today Show and on KUSI news. Originally from San Diego, Calif., Tazha has lived in Portland, Ore. since 2015.
Natalie Ball | Painter, Printmaker, Sculptor
Natalie Ball was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She has a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Ethnic Studies and Art from the University of Oregon. She furthered her education in New Zealand at Massey University where she attained her master’s degree, focusing on Indigenous contemporary art.
Natalie then relocated to her ancestral homelands to raise her three children. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, BC; Nino Mier Gallery, CA; Portland Art Museum, OR; Gagosian, NY; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Almine Rech Gallery, FR; and SculptureCenter, NY. Natalie attained her M.F.A. degree in Painting & Printmaking at Yale School of Art in 2018.
Dawn Jones Redstone | Filmmaker
Dawn Jones Redstone is an award-winning queer, Latinx writer/director whose films have screened around the globe. Her work often features women and people of color and explores themes of emotionality, feminism and the internal machinations that help us transform into the people we want to become. She’s a former recipient of MRG’s Lilla Jewel Artist Award, was named Woman of Vision by Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce, and has been awarded four grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to date. In addition to a commitment to having inclusive sets, she believes in using her hiring decisions to lift people up and help create a filmmaking community that reflects the world we live in.
Before becoming a full-time filmmaker, Dawn worked as a union carpenter and as training manager at Oregon Tradeswomen for a combined total of 15 years. She resides with her wife and daughter in Portland, Oregon.
Marilyn Keller | Musician and Performer
Marilyn T. Keller is a 2016 Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame Inductee. A 38-year veteran of music and stage performance in Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Pop, Blues, and theater, nationally and internationally, her musical roots are diverse.
Marilyn has built a career that has taken her as a feature artist to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Russia and the UK for concerts, festivals, nightclubs and recording work. Her voice can be heard on multiple recordings, movie soundtracks, commercials and documentaries. Marilyn’s formative jazz training was as a member of the Mt. Hood Community College Vocal Jazz Ensemble and as the vocalist fronting the award-winning MHCC Jazz Lab Band.
She can be seen frequently at clubs, restaurants, festivals and holiday events throughout the Pacific Northwest. She remains active, performing with Don Latarski, Darrell Grant, Tom Grant, Black Swan Classic Jazz Band, Pressure Point Band and the Augustana Jazz Quartet, among many others.
Ana-Maurine Lara, PhD | Novelist and Poet
Born in the Dominican Republic, Ana-Maurine Lara, PhD, is a scholar and a national award-winning novelist and poet. She is the author of: Erzulie’s Skirt (RedBone Press, 2006), When the Sun Once Again Sang to the People (KRK Ediciones, 2011), Watermarks and Tree Rings (Tanama Press, 2011), Kohnjehr Woman (RedBone Press, 2017), Cantos (letterpress, limited edition 2015), and Sum of Parts (Tanama Press, 2019).
Her academic books include: Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty (SUNY Press, forthcoming 2020) and Streetwalkers: LGBTQ Lives and Protest in the Dominican Republic (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming 2020). Ana’s work focuses on questions of Black and Indigenous people and freedom. She has been published in literary journals (Sable LitMag, Transitions Literary Journal), scholarly journals (Small Axe, Bilingual Revue, Sargasso, Feminist Review) and numerous anthologies, as a scholar and as a creative writer. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon, in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Ana has lived and worked in Kenya, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, and all over the U.S. She holds an AB in Anthropology from Harvard-Radcliffe University, and a MPhil and PhD in Anthropology from Yale University.
Yulia Arakelyan | Performance Artist
Yulia is a Portland-based performance artist and co-founder of Wobbly – a multidisciplinary performance project founded in 2006 with her partner Erik Ferguson. Since then, they have created many original short works, a full-length group dance theatre production, performed in Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Barcelona, were part of a six-month residency at Studio 2@Zoomtopia (now N.E.W. Expressive Works), and two short art films.
Wobbly’s work is in part supported by grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Project. Yulia also works as an independent choreographer and has created original works for Polaris Dance Company as well as several solo works. In 2013, Yulia received the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists to create a new dance work for MRG Foundation’s annual social justice fundraiser.
As an educator, Yulia has taught classes and workshops to people of all ages and abilities. She is currently teaching dance at PHAME and Public Annex.