Charles Loloma (Hopi)

Comments made about his art included, “It’s nice but it’s not Indian.” Loloma’s work was rejected from the Gallup Intertribal Art Show three times.

Sounds like some horse shit to me.

and who decides what’s ‘indian’?

Anything and everything that comes out of a Native is Native. The good and the bad.

How are these institutions (IAIA, NMAI, SWAIA, Eiteljorg, The Heard, Gallup etc.) trying to arbitrarily define what Native Art is?  Are they judging work on more than just Native made like, does it look Native?  Whatever that means.  Every artist has their own complexity and ways of representing their style and ideas and saying something like “it’s nice but it’s not Indian” is overlooking that complexity.  As a whole don’t we try to make sure that the differences, diversity, and specificities are recognized? So then why wouldn’t these institutions not do the same in art.  

This is one of the things I think about with my own work.   I paint in a western, modeled style that I am personally attracted to.  I like artists like Ingres.  I paint people from my community in the landscape of their familiar surroundings, but I still get comments that my work or the people don’t look native.  But when I get comments like that it just encourages me to create more work with the images and style I like because it confronts their perceptions.

obligatory charles loloma reblog & please read the commentary. it is important.

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