Savages and Princesses: The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes

Coming January 28, 2022

Explore the falsehoods behind common stereotypes of Native peoples and learn the truths behind them.

Challenging the stereotypes of Native Americans

Stereotypes of Native American peoples are ubiquitous and familiar. The exhibition Savages and Princess: The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes brings together twelve contemporary Native American visual artists who reclaim their right to represent their identities as Native Americans. Whether using humor, subtlety, or irony, the telling is always fiercely honest and dead-on. Images and styles are created from traditional, contemporary, and mass culture forms.

The exhibition intends to counteract the disappearance of Native portrayals. It embraces Native Americans’ power to replace stereotypical images that permeate the current pop culture landscape. Recognizing that stereotypes often occur without conscious awareness, the exhibition includes didactic information that explores common stereotypes about Native peoples that are falsehoods, followed by the truths behind them. The exhibition’s artists use the unexpected—humor, emotion, or shock—to encourage viewers to question and challenge stereotypes, even unspoken, unacknowledged ones.

The artists represented are:

Matthew Bearden (Citizen Potawatomi-Kickapoo-Blackfeet-Lakota) mixed media artist, painter, Tulsa, OK

Heidi BigKnife (Shawnee Tribe), jeweler, Tulsa, OK

Mel Cornshucker (United Keetoowah Band), ceramic artist, Tulsa, OK

Tom Farris (Otoe-Missouria-Cherokee), mixed media artist, Norman, OK

Anita Fields (Osage-Muscogee), ceramic artist, Stillwater, OK

Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee), photographer, Tulsa, OK

Juanita Pahdopony (Comanche), sculptor, Lawton, OK

K. H. Poole (Caddo-Delaware), draftsperson, Oklahoma City, OK

Zach Presley (Chickasaw), collage and digital artist, Durant, OK

Hoka Skenandore (Oneida-Oglala Lakota-Luiseño), mixed  media artist, Shawnee, OK

Karin Walkingstick (Cherokee Nation), ceramic artist, Claremore, OK

Micah Wesley (Muscogee-Kiowa), mixed media artist, Norman, OK

The exhibition was made possible in part by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.