CountyPrince George's County
Cryz was born a 5th generation clan mother and Two-Spirit of the Cedarville Band, Wild Turkey Clan, of the Piscataway Conoy Nation. The Piscataway Conoy people have inhabited Maryland for over 10,000 years. They are amongst the first Nations that survived the American holocaust and genocide. During this period over 5 million First Families were killed in the Western hemisphere.
Cryz learned the traditions of the Piscataway Conoy culture and knew early on in life that she was unique beyond just her race. However, her abilities to express and live as her true self were suppressed by the unfortunate but common reality of many First Nations households: abuse, poverty, adherence to colonized religion, lack of education and support. Before European arrival to Maryland and the introduction of Christianity, her ancestors held a special place for those considered Two-Spirit (LGBT) in their society. Due to fear, laws, and necessities of survival, these indigenous traditions were assimilated into European/Christian religious practices. The once highly-regarded conciliatory role of Two-Spirit was lost.
Art is her way of release and expression. Healing also comes from music production, spending hours with Mother Earth, and artistic creation. Cryz's work has been featured in many exhibits within the DC area. She is a board member of the Cedarville Band of Piscataway Indians, Inc., producer for the traveling education program Living the American Indian Experience, a facilitator for health and wellness programs for Piscataway people, Chief Content Officer with the American Indian Cultural Center, and a board member with the Charles County Art Alliance. She has recently been awarded a Master Artist’s Apprenticeship Grant by the Maryland State Arts Council. Cryz is the subject of an in-production documentary: A Safe Place, documenting her life and role as an indigenous artist and Two-Spirit.
All of Cryz’s expression are created on the iPhone and iPad. Her process includes photography and a wide variety of app work. This method is something she uses to challenge her artistic abilities but to also rebel against a system and culture that excludes, stereotypes, or appropriates its First People and their art culture. Her work is a colorful explosion of power and royalty, it strives to show the diversity and beauty in the multitude of Nations that occupied this land prior to European invasion.