“Uplift,” a multi-media exploration of the act of lifting by artist Nina Elder, opens at Waterfall Arts on Friday, Dec. 10 (National Human Rights Day), and will run through Jan. 29, 2022. During her residency at Waterfall Arts in the summer of 2021 (with support from The Onion Foundation), Elder created eight large-scale drawings, which will be on display for the exhibition. Her inspiration began as she witnessed the care, collaboration, technology, and resources that are used to move yachts from water to land in Belfast’s harbor.

Created using marine motor lubricant and industrial pulp mill waste—materials found or used in other non-recreational ways in Maine—these drawings abstract what is being uplifted, and are meditations on the kinds of invisible emotional lifting we all do.

The attention to the technologies of cradling and carrying boats in the harbor subsequently led Nina to create “Overburden,” a video installation that is debuting as part of this exhibition. By definition, to “overburden” is to give someone a weight that is too great to carry. Additionally, an “overburden” refers to the geologic material that is removed to expose a desired underground mineral.

“Overburden” documents artist Nina Elder’s attempt to care for and physically carry pieces of geologic materials in her home state of Arizona. She uses hand-sewn devices, accentuating both her strength and her softness, to uplift and dignify the pulverized, leached, melted, dumped, and forgotten rocks.