Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at Arizona State University and the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program. She splits her time between the east coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.
During Rupert residency Natalie Diaz took part in ‘Unbuilt’- collaboration project between an architect (Thomas Tsang), a visual artist (Lars Laumann), and a composer (Cecilia Lopez). Resisting and upholding the disciplinary practices of each artist their work examines and questions the nature of imagination and ambition in plans without a predetermined “object”. The collaborative eye is not a single lens for each artist to look through – instead, it is the single steady gaze of each artist. How are artists inspired or stifled by the pressures of gazing at a collaborative process versus looking forward toward the collaboration’s outcome? The archive of these relationships will result in a future-archeological artifact named as such because it documents a building process that will never become a built body. By the end of the residency, on 26th of August 2016, artists have given a presentation in the CAC reading room. During the event, called ‘Built’, artists shortly discussed their past individual work contextualizing it around the ‘Unbuilt’ project.