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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Comic Art Indigène Exhibition Shows How Comics Have Inspired Native American Artists

April 14, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Katie Kohn standing in front of paintings of Native American women

Katie Kohn, LCCR intern, standing in front of paintings from Rose Bean Simpson's "Objectification Series" at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., is hosting an exhibition called Comic Art Indigène, which shows how American Indians have incorporated comics and comic-inspired art into their storytelling tradition.

The exhibition shows the many ways American Indians have historically told stories, from rock art to ceramics to the more recent comics and comic-inspired art.

Many of the artists, like Rose Bean Simpson and Diego Romero, use comic-inspired art to examine politics, Native American culture, and identity.  Simpson's "Objectification Series" explores various portrayals of Native American women in the United States.  Romero's paintings tell stories inspired by the Marvel Comics of the 1960s.

"Comic strips were the first accessible form of mass media made available on reservations, and there was this immediate connection between native people and that type of work.  There was no language barrier, and the whimsical stories were a very familiar tradition," said Antonio Chavarria, curator of ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in New Mexico, who organized the exhibition.

The exhibition runs through May 31.

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