Chris Pappan

Of White Bread and Miracles (Shield)

Mixed media on embossed Evanston municipal ledger, Image: 36"h x 18"w, framed: 41.25"h x 23.25"w, Item No. 17031,

These works serve as a response to the Boy Scout tradition of misappropriating sacred Native American practices, and in this case for a “hobby”.  The figures (or bodies) are from a manual titled “Here Is Your Hobby…Indian Dancing and Costumes”.  While the book attempts to teach young boys (mostly) how to dance through confusing, static photographs, it is also an example of cognitive dissonance as it erases any vestiges of contemporary Native people and homogenizes all Native American cultures while making casual remarks such as “…get a local Indian to teach you singing and dancing if you can…”.  By appropriating the figures from the book and re-contextualizing them I am introducing the power of dance for our people;  that dance is not merely a hobby, it is a sacred form of prayer and sacrifice that has deep and varying roots and meaning for Native people everywhere.  These works also deal with the idea of innocence (lost) and institutionalized racism.  To interject the stagnant poses that are meant to teach movement with elements of spirituality, authenticity, and contemporary aspects, I am reclaiming that which has been erased. -Chris Pappan