Essay about Literary Analysis : Native American Art

812 Words Jan 6th, 2016 4 Pages
Native American art has evolved through history and has been used for various reasons such as, insuring cultural traditions, expressing spirituality, and to make sense of existential issues. Modern artists have pieces that tell a story enduring strength of the Native American peoples (Phillips, 1998) .One artist James Luna is notorious for using his body as a means to criticize stereotypes of Native American cultures in Western art. One of his most renowned pieces is Artifact Piece, 1985-87. Luna laid motionless on a bed of sand in a glass museum case wearing a loincloth. Luna persisted to remain on exhibit for several days. The descriptions on the glass case identified his name and commented about the artist’s scar from “excessive drinking.” Luna’s piece told a story of how the Native American culture has not stopped surviving and living even though society is still focusing on their past.
The Artifact Piece attracted many shocking responses when people discovered that the encased body was listening and watching them. The voyeuristic gaze of the viewer to learn more about the culture was returned by the artist (Thompson, 2012), which reaffirmed that the culture is continuing to evolve and is still alive. Viewers had their perspectives and beliefs shaken by this because many of the other Western art depictions of Native American culture is easy to ignore and view as long gone. James Luna is a Payómkawichum member of California’s Luiseno tribe in the La Jolla Indian…

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