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ExhibitionPremonitions: New Works by Monty Little

Apr 17–Jul 9, 2023

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 a singular society. This exhibition consists of two historical sections and one contemporary. The artwork in the first section represents the 374 ratified Indian treaties signed between the 18th century and early 20th century between various Indigenous communities and the United States government. The second section consists of an installation featuring school desks that date to the era of Indigenous boarding schools. The installation is a reminder of attempted assimilation through settler colonial agendas. The last, contemporary section displays several distorted Indigenous portraits, which are digitally manipulated versions of 19thcentury photographer Edward Curtis’s portraits. Curtis’s photographs are nostalgic images and present illusions of romanticism; what his portraits miss are the aftereffects of colonization, assimilation, and modernity.

This exhibition is not only meant to remind viewers of the abusive and genocidal acts of the US government; it is also meant to examine the concept of survivance.” In Gerald Vizenor’s book, Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance, the scholar explains that survivance is a perception of presence that continues through narratives, ceremonies, and language. The
exhibition surveys multiple treaties that marginalize the agency of Indigenous communities, the attempted assimilations and cultural removal from boarding schools, and reflects on these major accounts to acknowledge not only the survival but the continued presence of Indigenous peoples, even if their identities have been altered. Survivance is a continuation of Indigenous solidarity across the nation, which empowers and enriches communities.

–Monty Little


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 Iraq War veteran who served in the Marine Corps with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines 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 WisconsinMadison. He and his family reside in Madison.

Programming & Financial Support

This exhibition is supported by funds from the Russell and Paula Panczenko Fund for an Outstanding MFA Student