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Stereotypes of Native American peoples are ubiquitous and familiar. The exhibition Savages and Princess: The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes brings together twelve contemporary Native American visual artists who reclaim their right to represent their identities as Native Americans. Whether using humor, subtlety, or irony, the telling is always fiercely honest and dead-on. Images and styles are created from traditional, contemporary, and mass culture forms.
The exhibition intends to counteract the disappearance of Native portrayals. It embraces Native Americans’ power to replace stereotypical images that permeate the current pop culture landscape. Recognizing that stereotypes often occur without conscious awareness, the exhibition includes didactic information that explores common stereotypes about Native peoples that are falsehoods, followed by the truths behind them. The exhibition’s artists use the unexpected—humor, emotion, or shock—to encourage viewers to question and challenge stereotypes, even unspoken, unacknowledged ones.
The exhibition was made possible in part by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
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