"North American Holocaust" Buffalo Horn Spoon
A few months ago I was asked to take part in an exhibit that deals with the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. I didn't hesitate about being part of this because this event was such a horrific part of what happened to my ancestors.
I consider myself not only an artist but also an activist. I have been speaking out about issues that affect Native Peoples and behaviors that we all have. Through my art I have been given a voice that can reach many people. Art has empowered me and given me a way to bring people into the conversation. Through this conversation I hope to also bring healing and understanding.
In this piece I created for the "Takuwe" exhibit I wanted to be able to pull people in to the piece and then be impacted in a way that they could possible "feel" something. In the horn spoon I carved images of upside down "Spirits". I was told many years ago that when things were drawn upside down it meant that they were dead. I also carved all around the spirit images and used a texturing technique that I have been doing now for around 18 yrs. It's a beautiful way to make the main focus of the art really POP! Plus, adds another dimension with all the texture. On each of the child, mother, father and grandparent "Spirits" I drilled a hole, which represents a bullet hole, to show how these Spirits were killed.
Before I put the bullet holes in each of the Spirits the piece was beautiful in it's own right. After the holes were put in I feel the piece has more impact. I didn't want the viewer to think that this is just a beautiful buffalo horn spoon but to see the bullet holes and realize that this stuff really happened.
This exhibit and the art I created for it is a very heavy subject and it was my opportunity to be able to speak out about my thoughts and feelings about what happened to my ancestors. I can't imagine not having a voice to speak out with. I am grateful everyday for the Love of my Relatives and also giving me the ability to have a strong voice and being able to speak it.
The other title I have used for this horn spoon is "Spirits of Wounded Knee".