Notes on Shalako Mana: Critical Comments

Ramona Sakiestewa
11/30/2006

Ramona Sakiestewa’s Shalako Mana: Critical Comments comprises a set of Japanese woodblock prints designed by the artist and executed by woodblock carver, Mr. Kitamura, and master printer, Mr. Sato, both of Kyoto, Japan. 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, which become 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 participation in the history she critiques.