When will the Red Leader Overshadow Images of the 19th Century Noble Savage in Hollywood Films that Some Think are Sympathetic to American Indians

Copied Gail Tremblay, When will the Red Leader Overshadow Images of the 19th Century Noble Savage in Hollywood Films that Some Think are Sympathetic to American Indians, 2018, 35mm film from "Windwalker" (1981), red and white film leader, silver braid, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by Ms. Brenda Erickson in honor of the James Renwick Alliance, 2021.11, © 2018, Gail E. Tremblay

Artwork Details

Title
When will the Red Leader Overshadow Images of the 19th Century Noble Savage in Hollywood Films that Some Think are Sympathetic to American Indians
Date
2018
Dimensions
15 12 in. × 14 in. × 14 in. (39.4 × 35.6 × 35.6 cm)
Copyright
© 2018, Gail E. Tremblay
Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by Ms. Brenda Erickson in honor of the James Renwick Alliance
Mediums
Mediums Description
35mm film from "Windwalker" (1981), red and white film leader, silver braid
Classifications
Keywords
  • Abstract
  • Indian
Object Number
2021.11

Artwork Description

This basket is filled with meaning, from the title to the color choice and type of stitch. It incorporates 35mm film from the 1981 western Windwalker, in which one Native American tribe is portrayed as noble and the other as villainous. The red film leader and the reference to “Red Leader” in the basket’s title symbolize the derogatory term used to describe Native Americans. Gail Tremblay twists the film into a prickly porcupine stitch. Often using movies and documentaries with Native characters and storylines, the artist notes, “I enjoyed the notion of recycling film and gaining control over a medium that had historically been used by Hollywood and documentary filmmakers to stereotype American Indians.”

 

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, 2022

Exhibitions

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This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World
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This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft today. The exhibition highlights the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations, stories of resilience, and methods of activism—showing us a more relational and empathetic world. It centers more expansive definitions and acknowledgments of often-overlooked histories and contributions of women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.