Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Taking the Land Back"

Medium(s): Regular "Bic" Pen
September 5, 2006

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High School -Painting & Drawing 1- class, first day's assignment included filling the page using a medium that is non-erasable. I chose a regular pen because it was the closest thing to a pencil. At this point is where my militance had really began to shine through, in the reaction emotions of the Oka Crisis of 1990. Though in this composition, portrays much more than just the Oka Crisis. The main subject and focal point is the masked warrior, the image that now many Indigenous warrior socities and at protests now use to symbolize resistance. Symbolism and referancing to history and events is what holds this piece togrther to teach the viewer.
Starting with the top-right, which symbolizes the old life...our traditional elders, our lodges, and our Iinii (buffalo) strong, fearless animals that provided much of what we needed for survival. Below this corner melds into the bottom right corner, where the buffalo has turned into nothing but a skull, symbolizing their almost extinction due to over-hunting for sport by euro-americans. The elder has turned into nothing but a skull showing imense pain with a branded cross of Christianity, symbolizing our forced change from our beliefs into much of what now many of my people believe in, Catholicism. The bullet holes into the skull as well as the small "massacre" scene symbolize the Marias Massacre (also known as the Baker Massacre), a massacre of about 173 (mostly women and children) with about 140 captured. With smallpox killing us, we simply didn't have the numbers to respond, and tension between us and whites declined.
Behind the raised fist and red star of freedom on the left side, is an upsidedown U.S. flag, which symbolizes all euro-controlled North American union of the U.S, Canada, and Mexico. In the stripes are the words "Bury the past, rob us blind, and leave nothing behind", which does say a lot about what has been done over all 500 years of history going all the way to now. Below that is an Mohawk warrior on top of an Oka police car, another famous photo of the event. Also below that is the symbol of AIM (American Indian Movement), one of the most modern organizations of open resistance and bring a sense of "Pan-Nativism" back to Native people.

---Artist's Critique---

his is probably one of my most well-balanced, poly-symbolic composition I have done yet that is in my portfolio. The balance is perfect with a main subject-focal point with eyes that say a lot, and all around it are 4 sections equally divided to tell different stories, but yet have no visible divisions. I attempted to get an overall equality of darks and lights put together without trying to outweigh a side over the other. With such a perfect balance with much to tell makes this a very good overall composition.
Little mistakes I see are that the warrior's hat is drawn wrong. His forehead seems to just disappear into the hat's rim, rather than into the hat itself. Also, the Mohawk warrior standing on the cop car on the left clashes a little too much with the dark freedom-star wristband on the raised fist. There is barely any contrast and his overall image is too blended for many people to even notice he is there.

1 comment:

  1. Love your art work it is full of details and really speaks - I have enjoyed watching you grow as an artist. Hugs