A powerful protest against the old boarding school system on the reservations. Native children were removed from their homes and families, to assimilate them into the larger culture, often forcibly. Native language, culture and customs were banned. This lasted into the 1960’s.
The very gifted young artist is a former staff member of ours, and his work is a combination of exceptional craftsmanship and a larger message.
The medium is chalk, on a real chalkboard, a visual pun reinforcing the statement. The fragile chalk has been sprayed with fixative, but still should not be rubbed at all. The beautifully drawn portrait of an elder resembles the historic photos of the 1800’s.
It is a reminder of the original culture, set against the enforced written statements on the chalkboard: ” I will not act indigenous in class.”
How can an indigenous person not act indigenous?! This beautiful piece protests the negation of one’s culture and very being. On the back, the artist has written: “No matter what, always be loving and proud of who you are. There is only 1 you,”
This fine drawing is compelling, in emotion, theme, and artistic expression. Very contemporary, and suitable to all decors.