It isn’t much of a stretch to see artist Rory Wakemup’s alu­minum stormtrooper cos­tume Buf­falo Thun­der Trooper as a com­men­tary on the mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Na­tive peo­ples in a lot of non-Na­tive art.

Pasatiempo - - PASA REVIEWS - Troy Joey, Buf­falo Thun­der Trooper, Buf­falo Thun­der Trooper Now Is the Time, Star Wars’ Star Wars-themed

For in­stance, artist Rory Wakemup’s alu­minum stormtrooper cos­tume cre­ated as a cos­tume for a per­for­mance piece, bears fa­mil­iar as­pects of the foot sol­dier’s re­galia, like the stormtrooper hel­met, but he’s added a feather head­dress, per­haps in­spired by the tradiNa­tive tional Chippewa dress that forms part of his her­itage. The irony is that the head­dress is re­served for the chief or the war­rior for acts of brav­ery, and the stormtrooper is a mind­less drone, a slave to the Em­pire with no will of his own. It isn’t much of a stretch to see as a com­men­tary on the mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Na­tive peo­ples in a lot of non-Na­tive art. Sim­i­larly, Jonathan Loretto’s

and two Na­tive bob­ble-head fig­ures bear­ing lightsabers, in­spired by the toy fig­ures that grace many a car dash­board, are ren­dered in clay and bear a re­sem­blance to more tra­di­tional Co­chití fig­urines.

But which in­cludes works by Wakemup and Loretto, as well as Natalie Ball, Ger­ald Clarke Jr., Jonathan Thun­der, Joe Fed­der­son, and Drew Michael, is not a ex­hibit. and high volt­age tow­ers seem at odds with cul­tural prac­tices steeped in tra­di­tion such as travel by hand-carved ca­noe. Some of these forms con­verge in a sin­gle com­po­si­tion that Fed­der­son ren­ders in a style that re­sem­bles an­cient pet­ro­glyph de­signs and graf­fiti art at the same time, beg­ging com­par­isons be­tween the two, or a recog­ni­tion that mark-mak­ing as a means of ex­pres­sion is as vi­tal today as it was in the past. That aware­ness of his­tory is key, per­haps, to un­der­stand­ing the ex­hibit on the whole. Whether these artists are look­ing for­ward to what will be, or back to what was, they are speak­ing to the present mo­ment. Now is the time.

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