Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa
Date of Work
Acrylic on canvas
Art & Design Office, Hughes Fine Arts Center
Statement provided by artist:
My artwork chronicles past and present events of Indigenous people and cultures through pixels that distort or abstract the subject matter. This type of representation is correlated to how these cultures are inaccurately portrayed and omitted in mainstream history and media. The two primary inspirations for my artwork originated from my experiences as a Native American and a nostalgia for classic video games.
As a Native American and student employee at the University of North Dakota, I have encountered many misconceptions about Indigenous people and cultures which may often derive from mainstream historic and media sources. History tends to ignore or delivers a broad narrative concerning atrocities committed against Native Americans during the colonization of North America. Books, television, and movies often depict Native Americans in stereotypical ways which is the only exposure many people have concerning them.
During my childhood, video games were, in their infancy, technology that displayed a crude realism that resulted in distorted, two-dimensional worlds and characters. This technology was an entertaining diversion that allowed the player to disconnect from the world and focus only on what they were seeing. Fusing the nostalgic and distortive quality of pixels with authentic historic events is an attempt to attract and divert the viewer so they may learn new information. This newfound knowledge may allow the viewer to empathize with and better comprehend an uncelebrated and ambiguous history.