news | Friday November 15, 2013

The Guardian on The Edward Curtis Project and Contemporary Native Art

In the Guardian on Monday, Helen Gilbert observed that

many Britons today are barely aware of the extent of their nation’s imperial history, but the wounds of colonialism are never far from the surface of indigenous arts in the dozens of countries that were once former colonies.
… colonialism … leaves more subtle legacies for contemporary indigenous artists in the form of stereotypes that are hard to shift. One of the most prominent is the idea that ‘real’ indigenous peoples do not lead modern lives but traditional existences, in remote areas of the world and in harmony with the natural environment. Indigenous or native arts are presumed to be polar opposites of the objects and images spawned by the so-called digital revolution in western arts.

The article goes on to discover – through a discussion with playwright Marie Clements about her book The Edward Curtis Project (with photographs by Rita Leistner) and conversation with other native artists about other works – that the image of aboriginal peoples living traditional lives is simply a stereotype, and that, in fact, native artists use technological means for artistic purposes as much as anyone else – perhaps more.

Read the full article here.

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