December 13, 2008

"It's Not TV, It's Indians!"

Needled by Performance ArtIt sounds fun and funny: Native artists riff off their favorite TV shows that feature Indians, such as the "Seinfeld" episode when Jerry buys Elaine a cigar store Indian. "It's Not TV, It's Indians!" would be the first-ever piece of performance art at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Yet here is Skeena Reece, of M├ętis, Cree, Tsimshian and Gitskan heritage, wearing a nurse's uniform and menacingly tapping an oversize syringe against her palm.

She glares at the crowd seated in the Rasmuson Theater.

"This looks like a sick audience." Tap, tap. "Does anyone want to share any feelings you have about being a colonizer?" Nervous chuckles from the Sunday museum-going, mostly white audience. They are perhaps wondering how this relates to the "Moesha" Thanksgiving episode featuring a Native American convenience store owner that they just watched. Reece then lies on a black-sheathed table, while a white male artist places a small bucket of red paint between her splayed legs. He paints one of Columbus's ships on a large board as Reece speaks about sexual fetishes, fear of government and the inaccurate portrayal of Indians on television.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

I applaud these artists for addressing issues and concepts so ingrained in our culture and subconscious that they are often accepted without pause and reaction. We should all be nervous when a mirror is held up to us regarding how we see each other and our selves. If angled just right that mirror can reflect all parties involved in the accepted perception, which is often something, as individuals we don’t want to face. If we truly personally address what is exposed and take individual responsibility to adjust those preconceptions/stereotypes by being who we are, here and now, maybe we will be able to break our own expectations, as well as the expectations others, by no longer living up to what we are “suppose” to be. Then perhaps we can adjust what we see in those mirrors…one step at a time.

Unknown said...

steps back and adds an "of"...
"to break our own expectations, as well as the expectations of others"..damn me for not having stealthy fingers (oppps am I perpetuating again?)...

Anonymous said...

I understand that she and her troupe will not be invited back anytime too soon.

SAD!