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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Forty-Eight: Telling stories with pictures > Gallery window, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2010
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Gallery window, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2010
02-JUN-2010

Gallery window, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2010

In this image, I juxtapose an enormous stylized painting of a Native American against a traditional Indian war bonnet. I abstract the face in the painting by cropping it just below the eyes so that the face seems to be unable to see. Barely visible in the painting are the ends of feathers that enter from the top of the frame. The war bonnet, however, is seen in its entirety, yet it appears much darker than the painting, as if lost in time. My juxtaposition tells the story of vibrant Native American cultural pride, yet a pride tempered by a history of war, oppression and suffering over the centuries.

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Phil Douglis05-Jul-2010 19:59
Glad to see that you saw the story I was trying to tell here, Iris. As I noted in my caption, the cultural pride expressed here is tempered by a history of war, oppression and suffering, from Manifest Destiny to Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge, and Alcatraz.
Iris Maybloom (irislm)05-Jul-2010 19:41
Much of Native American history is "lost in time" since most mainstream textbooks minimize it or omit it completely. The white face of oppression becomes a looming metaphor for this slap in the face of history. The time hopefully will come when the rich history of the Native American people will emerge from the shadows (represented by the symbolic head dress) and take its rightful place in this nation's story. You certainly have told quite a story with this image.
Phil Douglis29-Jun-2010 22:42
Great thought, Tim. The bonnet is just a bonnet -- there is no face within it. But the scale of that face on the wall more than fills that role.
Tim May29-Jun-2010 19:40
It is hard to tell is the war bonnet has a face in it - but it seems as if the face has leapt from under the bonnet to on the wall.
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