September 10, 2014

What Tribe by Douglas Miles

Gathering of the Tribes: Artists Celebrate Indigenous Origins

By Rob SchmidtDouglas Miles, San Carlos Apache, the mastermind behind the company-turned-art-collective known as Apache Skateboards, has another culture-challenging project in the mix: What Tribe. This traveling exhibit features a collection of minority artists who address racism and stereotyping with their work.

The show kicked off at Denver University in Colorado, then appeared in Phoenix, and finally in East Los Angeles, where it was well received. The show at Self Help Graphics in the Boyle Heights neighborhood included a mural on the outside wall of the gallery created by several artists. Miles explains its origin:

“What Tribe kind of came about as an answer to the constant media misrepresentation that I saw.” This came to a head with two egregious examples: the No Doubt video with Gwen Stefani as an Indian temptress, and the Lone Ranger film with Johnny Depp as Tonto.

This cultural misappropriation points to one thing, says Miles: “Institutional racism. Which is a form of racism in America that runs so deep and so constant that people, Native people and non-Native people, almost don’t even know or accept that it exists.

“Institutional racism is very insidious, and it has many forms,” he adds. He sees it in galleries, films, books, museums and the media.
Comment:  The article's original title was:‘What Tribe’ Addresses America’s Institutional RacismAn editor changed it for some reason, perhaps because it was too "challenging." Douglas Miles and I agree the original title was much better.

For more on the subject, see A Decade of Douglas Miles.

No comments: