Published January 25, 2016
DENVER— Native artist Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute) has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Denver Art Museum since late October 2015. During his residency he’s created an entire new body of work in paintings all centered around social and political dialog with consideration through paint application, color and composition.
In addition to his paintings and mural, Deal created the performance piece Ethnographic Zoo where he dressed up as a stereotypical Plains Indian with a mass-produced headdress. The performance took place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, where Deal sat outside of the museum listening to the Pocahontas soundtrack, watching Dances With Wolves, roped off behind signs that read, “Do Not Feed the Stereotype.”
On January 29, 2016, at the Denver Art Museum, Deal will further delve into counteracting society’s desire to put everyone into a standardized set of expectations in “White Indian.”
“While it is making fun of the culture of the “White Indian” as well as the way popular culture is often inserted into our realm of identity, the conversation about blood quantum through the “Indian Pedigree” segment is the most critical. Every Indian knows about it, none of us really talks about it and non-Indians know nothing about it,” commented Deal to Native News Online.
“It becomes important in the conversation happening in conservative politics with things like “Muslim ID’s” as an ethnic database federally regulated is nothing new, but even more important when our young people begin to realize that the system is set up to fail, and set up to leave them out of their communities by name and official documentation.”’
His three-part performance piece White Indian revolves around the issue of blood quantum and how it influences our understanding of identity.
Part 1: The White Indian tackles the humor and seriousness of the American sub-culture of White Indians and our understanding of “Indianness.”
Part 2: Indian Pop explores the ways in which popular culture defines Indigeneity and the ways we consume it.
Part 3: Indian Pedigree will center the conversation on how we quantify Indigeneity specifically through Blood Quantum and the views perpetuated by pop-culture.
Be ready for humor, sadness, live tattooing, and an experience that will elevate your conception of what it means to be “Indian.” White Indian will take place as part of the museum’s “Untitled: Family Matters” series. This will be the first time this piece is performed. Admission: $10 for Colorado residents, $8 for College students, and free for those under 18 years of age.
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