May 06, 2016

Artist inserts himself in ledger paintings

An odd story about non-Native artist Scott Seekins. Among other things, he does ledger-style paintings and inserts himself into the scenes:

Scott Seekins' Great Sioux Uprising series draws ire from Native community

By Erica RiveraOver the weekend, backlash ignited on the show’s Facebook event page, where the header image, drawn in the style of ledger art, features Seekins in his signature white suit, hands raised. He is standing before a Native man on horseback who wears a headdress and is armed with a bow and arrows. A white soldier lies bleeding from the head on the ground, gun in hand.

In the discussion section of the event page, commenters have accused Seekins of cultural appropriation, calling the exhibition “problematic” and “tone-deaf.” Several people have requested via Facebook, email, and phone that the gallery cancel the show.
Gallery under fire over use of Native American imagery

Seekins says his doppelgänger is bearing witness to history. Others say he's glorifying himself at the expense of his subjects.

A couple of weeks later, the criticism continued:

“This is art about genocide” Native community pushes back against Scott Seekins

I agree with the critics. The paintings already "bear witness" to historical events. Seekins's insertion of himself doesn't improve the message or add value. A modern white guy sees a 150-year-old what?

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