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Collection Highlight: The Stereotype-Defying Work of Fritz Scholder

Collection Highlight: The Stereotype-Defying Work of Fritz Scholder

Collection Highlight: The Stereotype-Defying Work of Fritz Scholder
Jul, 09, 2020

Artists

Collection Highlight: The Stereotype-Defying Work of Fritz Scholder

Long before Europeans arrived in the Americas, Indigenous nations inhabited for millennia the lands on which we now live. Today, Indigenous peoples number more than 5,000,000, representing a diverse array of sovereign nations with unique beliefs, languages, and histories.

For decades, artists and museums have portrayed Native Americans in problematic and performative ways, often in staged settings that furthered preferred perceptions of Indigenous peoples to validate forced acculturation, the violent removal of peoples from their tribal lands, and other disenfranchising tactics. The late artist Fritz Scholder, an enrolled member of the Luiseño tribe whose ancestral lands comprise much of Southern California, disrupted this traditional, Eurocentric portrayal of Indigenous peoples through his compelling, prolific works that questioned these stereotypical depictions. Through expressive brushwork and a lucid, colorful palette, Scholder’s lively and often wry works exposed and unseated clichés, representing Indigeneity as a vibrant contemporary experience and empowering Indigenous peoples to define their identities for themselves.

Explore just a few of Scholder’s compelling works from the PhxArt collection here.

Posing Indian with Bird Headdress (1972)

Fritz Scholder, White Buffalo Ceremony (Ceremonia del búfalo blanco), 1972. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of Mr. Edward Jacobson.

White Buffalo Ceremony (1972)

Sitting Indian (1975)

Portrait of a Cowboy (1978)

Another Sioux Chief (1979)

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