#Na­tive

ON IN­DIGE­NOUS LIFE AND SO­CIAL ME­DIA

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - I FRANK BUFFALO HYDE Michael Abatemarco The New Mex­i­can

In lo­cal artist Frank Buffalo Hyde’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion I-Wit­ness Cul­ture, he ex­plores is­sues of Na­tive cul­ture and stereo­types in the age of smart­phones and com­puter tablets, and how mod­ern tech­nol­ogy can be used to ad­vance Na­tive causes or harm them. The show of paint­ings and sculp­ture, which opens Fri­day, Feb. 3, at the Mu­seum of In­dian Arts & Cul­ture, draws on cur­rent events, pop cul­ture, and ad­ver­tise­ments to present a view of con­tem­po­rary Na­tives at odds with non-Na­tive per­cep­tions. On the cover is Buffalo Hyde’s acrylic paint­ing Zom­bie Na­tion from 2016; im­age cour­tesy MIAC.

Visit a Na­tive dance cer­e­mony, and once the cam­eras come out, we are no longer en­gaged in the mo­ment. In Frank Buffalo Hyde’s paint­ing Four Dancers, a tra­di­tional buffalo dance is seen from the point of view of the spec­ta­tor. Mul­ti­ple hands hold­ing cell­phones obscure the view. The tech­driven world, the world of the small screen, plays a part in I-Wit­ness Cul­ture, a solo ex­hi­bi­tion of Buffalo Hyde’s re­cent work on ex­hibit at the Mu­seum of In­dian Arts & Cul­ture. “A lot of the paint­ings in the show are about how we ex­pe­ri­ence our reality through a dig­i­tal fil­ter now,” the artist told Pasatiempo. “It’s al­most de­sen­si­tiz­ing us in the sense that some­thing’s not real un­less we’ve posted it on so­cial me­dia.” Draw­ing on images from ad­ver­tis­ing, movies, tele­vi­sion, pop­u­lar mu­sic, and pol­i­tics, Buffalo Hyde’s com­po­si­tions are a com­men­tary on con­tem­po­rary so­ci­ety, con­sumerism, and the con­tra­dic­tory as­pects of images, which can be used as a means to de­ceive or as a means of doc­u­ment­ing. “When I speak at dif­fer­ent events I tell peo­ple that so­cial me­dia is a very use­ful tool but you have to be cau­tious, be­cause it’s also a way of con­trol­ling peo­ple and get­ting out dis­in­for­ma­tion,” he said. “As with any sort of ad­vance­ment in tech­nol­ogy, it’s a dou­ble-edged sword. It’s all about how you use it and dis­sem­i­nate the in­for­ma­tion you get from it.”

I-Wit­ness Cul­ture fea­tures 14 of Buffalo Hyde’s paint­ings and three of his sculp­tures. All were made specif­i­cally for the ex­hi­bi­tion, which is di­vided into three sec­tions: Para­nor­mal: The Truth Is Out There; Selfie SKNDNS; and In-Ap­pro­pri­ate. Para­nor­mal con­cerns myths of the Amer­i­can In­dian, chal­leng­ing the no­tion of in­dige­nous peo­ples as rem­nants of the past. “At one of my first mu­seum shows here in Santa Fe, I equated Na­tive Amer­i­cans with Big­foot, be­cause we had ob­tained that mytho­log­i­cal sta­tus,” he said. “When we were grow­ing up and peo­ple found out you were Na­tive Amer­i­can, they would be sur­prised be­cause they thought all Na­tive Amer­i­cans were gone. They ab­so­lutely didn’t think there were any east of the Mis­sis­sippi. They wanted to take a pic­ture of you. They wanted to touch your hair, asked if you lived in teepees, and all that stuff. So it’s an ex­am­i­na­tion of the ridicu­lous­ness of that.”

Selfie SKNDNS re­claims the word “In­dian” and the deroga­tory term “skins.” The paint­ings de­vel­oped from a pre­vi­ous ex­hi­bi­tion called SKNDNS: Na­tive

Amer­i­cans on Film, in which Buffalo Hyde ex­am­ined the role of the Na­tive in cinema as de­picted by Na­tive and non-Na­tive ac­tors. Selfie SKNDNS uses the ter­mi­nol­ogy of so­cial me­dia to ex­plore civil­rights vi­o­la­tions and dis­crim­i­na­tion in the age of tech­nol­ogy. “In my mind the cell­phone tech­nol­ogy is a way for peo­ple to doc­u­ment protest,” Buffalo Hyde said. “If you look at Stand­ing Rock, if they hadn’t

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