"On Fertile Ground" puts spotlight on Native artists from the Midwest
|Julie Buffalohead: They Paint Horses, Don't They?|
|Jim Denomie: An Eye for an Eye|
|Alexandra Buffalohead: Self Portrait, Skinless 1, Skinless 2|
One of the highlights of the show comes from recent Augusburg graduate Alexandra Buffalohead, whose chicken-wire sculptures hang like ghosts in front of a turquoise wall. Two of the pieces, Skinless 1 and Skinless 2, show horned figures hanging above the floor. In addition to their chicken-wire armature, the figures have heart shapes inside their chests. Though they are called skinless, the shape of these figures look more like wire stand-ins for skin, with the bodies missing bones and muscle mass. They droop, kept alive only by whatever soul keeps pushing them forward through their hearts. A third figure, called Self Portrait, is the same as the other two with the addition of brightly colored nylon wrapped around the armature. The third piece makes a gesture of seeking to cover up what's inside, perhaps, or putting on a show, even if that presentation ignores the needs of what is happening inside.
Another compelling group of works comes from Monte Yellow Bird, whose ledger-paper pieces use humor to address ways in which Native people have been presented as "the other" throughout history. In Watch the Birdie, Yellow Bird depicts a white photographer hunched behind an accordion camera. He holds up a yellow bird for two Native people in traditional dress to focus on as they have their portrait taken. Two other Native people look on, bemused. Another ledger-paper piece shows a romanticized image of a young Native woman on a horse holding a parasol, surrounded by decorative flowers and a bright, setting sun. Through these works, Yellow Bird offers commentary on the ways in which Indigenous people have been shown as objects for the colonial imagination.
IF YOU GO:
Through November 15
All My Relations Gallery
1414 E. Franklin Ave. S., Minneapolis