State Names

Media - 2004.28 - SAAM-2004.28_2 - 137738
Copied Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, State Names, 2000, oil, collage and mixed media on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Elizabeth Ann Dugan and museum purchase, 2004.28

Artwork Details

Title
State Names
Date
2000
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
4872 in. (121.9182.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Elizabeth Ann Dugan and museum purchase
Mediums Description
oil, collage and mixed media on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Landscape — United States
Object Number
2004.28

Artwork Description

Dripping paint and newspaper clippings obscure a map of North America in State Names. The only names left visible are those that stem from indigenous sources. The collaged layers act as sequences of time, partially eclipsing the past while highlighting the injustices endured by Native Americans throughout history. Through her use of iconic shapes formed with clippings from newspapers, including the New York Times and Char-Koosta--her reservation's newspaper--Jaune Quick-to-See Smith's work challenges our notions of heritage, identity, and history.
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Jaune Quick-To-See Smith has painted several maps of the United States to show how the land already occupied by ancient native communities was colonized by European settlers. Here, she included names of states that derive from Native American words, such as Wyoming, from a Delaware Indian word that means “mountains and valleys alternating,” and Kansas, from a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind.” Smith is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation in Montana and works to raise recognition of Native American art and peoples. State Names expresses her anger that the country’s lands were divided without regard for existing tribal territories.

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“We are the original owners of this country. Our land was stolen from us by the Euro-American invaders . . . I can’t say strongly enough that my maps are about stolen lands, our very heritage, our cultures, our worldview, our being . . . Every map is a political map and tells a story---that we are alive everywhere across this nation . . .” Smith, Postmodern Messenger, Exhibition Catalogue, 2004

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