The Russell and Paula Panczenko Prize for an Outstanding MFA Candidate
The works on view forefront historic and contemporary erasures of various Indigenous identities within the United States. Indigenous communities across the nation maintain multiple cultures, languages, ceremonies, and histories, and should not be seen as asingular society. Thisexhibitionconsists oftwo historical sections and one contemporary. Theartwork in the first sectionrepresents the374ratifiedIndiantreatiessigned between the18thcentury and early 20thcenturybetween variousIndigenous communities and the United States government.The second sectionconsists of an installation featuringschool desks that date to the era ofIndigenousboardingschools. The installation is a reminder of attempted assimilation through settler colonial agendas.The last, contemporarysection displays several distorted Indigenous portraits,which are digitally manipulatedversions of19th–century photographer Edward Curtis’s portraits. Curtis’s photographs are nostalgic images and present illusions of romanticism;what his portraits miss are theaftereffectsof colonization, assimilation, and modernity.
Thisexhibition is not only meant to remindviewers ofthe abusive and genocidal acts of the US government;itisalsomeant to examine theconceptof“survivance.” In Gerald Vizenor’s book, Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance,the scholarexplains that survivance is a perception of presence that continues through narratives, ceremonies, and language. The exhibition surveys multipletreaties that marginalize the agency of Indigenous communities, the attempted assimilations and cultural removal fromboardingschools, and reflects on these major accounts to acknowledgenot onlythe survivalbut the continuedpresence of Indigenous peoples, even if their identities have been altered. Survivance is a continuation of Indigenous solidarity across the nation,which empowersand enrichescommunities.
About the artist Monty Little is Diné, originally from Tuba City, Arizona,located in the Navajo (Diné) reservation. He received a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico,in 2015. Little is also an IraqWarveteran who served in the Marine Corps with the 2ndBattalion, 5thMarines from 2004 to 2008. Little has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the National Veterans Art Museum, International Print Center New York, Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts, Ralph T. Coe Foundation, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and Rainmaker Gallery. Little is currently an MFA candidate in printmaking at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He and his family reside in Madison.