PRESS RELEASE - East Meets West: Ramona Sakiestewa and G. Peter Jemison

Eight Modern
08/02/2007

East Meets West
Ramona Sakiestewa & G. Peter Jemison

August 17 – September 16

Reception: Friday, August 17, 2007 5:30 – 7:30pm

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO—Eight Modern is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, East Meets West: Ramona Sakiestewa & G. Peter Jemison. Featuring works by Ramona Sakiestewa and G. Peter Jemison, two of the United States’ most celebrated Native American artists, the exhibition specifically confronts issues of cross-cultural communications and interdisciplinary practice.

Born of Hopi ancestry and raised in the American Southwest, Ramona Sakiestewa is renowned for her tapestries and works on paper – clever compounds of postmodern critical method, highly individuated abstract language, and her culture’s ritual imagery. Most recently, Sakiestewa has designed a set of woodblock prints executed in Kyoto, Japan, by woodblock carver, Mr. Kitamura, and master printer, Mr. Sato. Deconstructing the critical merit assigned to Primitivism, the prints juxtapose the image of the Hopi katsina Shalako Mana with hand-written excerpts from Art in America, stripped of meaning as they are co-opted from critical reviews. In this context, the prevailing hierarchy of cultural expropriation – in which non-Eurocentric iconographies are appropriated toward and appraised in relation to their suitability for Eurocentric ends – is revealed as absurd through both inversion and the artist’s ironic collusion in the history she critiques.

A member of the Heron Clan of the Seneca Nation, G. Peter Jemison is highly regarded for his paintings, videos, and mixed media works on parasols and brown paper bags. The works draw upon the concept of orenda, the traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) belief that every living thing and every part of creation contains a spiritual force. Presenting a challenge to reductive and exclusionary art historical structures, Jemison synthesizes the dual traditions of academic and traditional Native American arts. Moreover, Jemison’s artwork is intrinsically related to his overarching focus on Native American artistic and cultural heritage, which has led him to become a leading authority on the history of the Haudenosaunee, as well as one of the Seneca Nation’s most esteemed curators, writers, administrators, and political representatives.