• Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis,Shinnecock Nation Seal: Beaded Cape, 2008. Photo courtesy the artist

  • Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis, Sugar Loaf, 2022. Photo courtesy the artist

  • Portrait of Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis,. Photo: Jeremy Dennis


Sisters of St. Joseph Villa
81 Lynn Ave, Hampton Bays, NY, 11946


For the 2022 Parrish Road Show, the Parrish Art Museum has invited Shinnecock artist Denise Silva-Dennis to create an outdoor mural at the Sisters of St. Joseph Villa in Hampton Bays. Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground continues the artist’s life-long practice of inter-generational education and storytelling through the arts.

Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis is a multidisciplinary artist and educator from the Shinnecock Nation. Her practice includes figurative painting, traditional Native beadwork, fashion design, and illustration for posters and children’s books. Ranging from narrative murals on a public scale to sewn regalia for family members on an intimate scale, Silva-Dennis uses her creativity to share cultural history and traditions of the Shinnecock people as a form of education and celebration.

In Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground, Silva-Dennis shares the ancestral history of Shinnecock Bay. “Wunne Ohke,” the Algonquin words translating to “Good Ground,” is the original placename of the Hampton Bays area given by the Shinnecock who first inhabited the region as a residential area. The placename was given for the smooth “good ground” that allowed ease of launching canoes for whaling. In this new mural, the artist vibrantly reimagines land from pre-colonial times and combines it with more recent significant landmarks in the Shinnecock Nation’s history. Through the mural and public programming, visitors will learn from the artist and her fellow Shinnecock research collaborators how these ancestral places came to be, how they’ve changed, and what they mean to the Shinnecock people today.

In one of her early murals at the Shinnecock Indian Reservation Community Center, Silva-Dennis fully realized her storytelling skills on a seventy-five-foot wall, taking visitors on a journey through Shinnecock history that includes agricultural practices, whaling techniques, symbolism of the medicine wheel, the Circassian shipwreck, and contemporary sites on the Shinnecock Reservation. The mural embraces the artist’s spirit of collaboration, with family, friends, and school children helping to paint alongside Silva-Dennis and contribute to future storytelling.

Activism has long been a part of Silva-Dennis’ process who has a rich history of protest poster design and is currently serving on the board of the Niamuck Land Trust and Shinnecock Graves Protection Warrior Society (SGPWS). In her painting Sugar Loaf, she reflects on the successes and continued goals of grassroots activism for graves protection and Land Back efforts, for example the purchase of the sacred burial site at Sugar Loaf Hill to be preserved and returned to the Shinnecock. For her new mural, Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground, Silva-Dennis is looking toward the future. Here, Shinnecock histories are carried on and celebrated through art, highlighting efforts to regain ancestral lands and revitalize traditional practices for future generations.

Parrish Road Show 2022 is organized by Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects, with support from Brianna Hernández, Curatorial Fellow


OPENING RECEPTION | Sunday, October 16, 2 to 4 PM (Rain date Sunday, October 30)

Outdoors and open to the public daily thereafter

Sisters of St. Joseph Villa | 81 Lynn Ave, Hampton Bays, NY, 11946

The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.

ARTIST TALK | Friday, November 4, 6 PM

Denise Silva-Dennis with Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects

Onsite at Parrish Art Museum, and live-streamed | 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY


Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis (b. 1960, Riverhead, NY) is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator based in the Shinnecock Nation. Silva-Dennis graduated from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art. Silva-Dennis works primarily in acrylic for her figurative paintings and murals and is also an accomplished beadwork craftswoman. The traditional Eastern Woodland style of beadwork was handed down to her from her mother and elder women of the Shinnecock and Hassanamisco-Nipmuc Nations. Denise’s has exhibited at art galleries, museums, libraries, schools, and colleges throughout Long Island and Upstate, including at Hamilton College’s Bundy Center and Library.


Parrish Road Show is the Museum’s off-site project designed to encourage engagement and interaction between artists and the communities outside the Museum’s walls. Each year, selected artists work with the Parrish and partner venues to create new work and to provide unique opportunities for visitors to see and experience art in unexpected places, from public parks and highways to historical sites and community centers.


For more than 169 years the Sisters of Saint Joseph have served the people of Long Island. The Sisters of St. Joseph’s goal is to foster love, unity, and reconciliation among all people with the education and empowerment of women as a key focus. The Sisters of St. Joseph are educators from elementary to the university level, social workers, health care professionals, lawyers, parish ministers, administrators, and spiritual directors. They also have ministries independently operated including six high schools, a learning program for immigrant women, and a skilled nursing facility.


Parrish Road Show 2022 | Denise Silva-Dennis: Wunne Ohke–The Return to Good Ground is organized by Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects with support from Brianna Hernández, Curatorial Fellow.