by Robert Sorrell
A show at ASM in March 2001
A celebrated and award-winning Navajo artist and professor of art at
the College of Santa Fe, Robert Sorrell brought a refreshingly contemporary
show of native art and art expression to Arizona State Museum. Entitled EVIDENCE,
Sorrel's show expressed modern art forms and attitudes on native art
and motifs that speak to a contemporary Native American culture.
Sorrell's motif of choice in EVIDENCE was
suits. "The suit is like the nude," he says, "it's just
filled with different meanings - politically and socially."
To Sorrell, the suit and the Native American are not so far removed. His
mother learned first hand of the powers of the suit when forced into boarding
schools, and it is from here that many native Americans went into army
uniforms during WWII, so the suit became another part of their heritage,
and a powerful metaphor. Sorrell also sees the suit as artifacts of American
culture. He plays with our expectation that a Native American artist will
use beads, feathers, buffaloes, and other "traditional" images
and compels us to look at a familiar object in a fresh way.
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