Meghan Kirkwood

(American, b. 1981; resides in Moorhead, MN)

In her #ViewsFromDAPL series, Meghan Kirkwood photographs the landscape above the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which transfers over 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day through parts of North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. The construction and implementation of the pipeline was subject to extensive legal challenges, as it dangerously intersects the Missouri River in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. This path obstructs many sacred land sites for the Sioux and threatens the water supply for the local disenfranchised population. Crowds famously protested its construction for several months, with hundreds of people arrested for camping out on its planned location and physically attempting to block the development. Nevertheless, construction of the pipeline was completed in early 2017.

Kirkwood traces the route of the DAPL as it routes through North Dakota and near Standing Rock, witnessing it from the perspective of the open landscape above. She attempts to separate the once viral media story, as indicated in the title of her series #ViewsFromDAPL, from an abstract understanding of the environmental and social issues represented in headlines to a tangible witnessing of its presence on the land.

Meghan Kirkwood completed a BA in Art History from Grinnell College (2004), a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (2006), an MFA in Studio Art from Tulane University (2009), an MA in the History of Art from the University of Kansas (2011), and a Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Art from the University of Florida (2016). She has been included in exhibitions at the Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, KS (2016); ArtSPACE, Durban, South Africa (2016); and the Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA (2013); among many others.