Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Jungen factor

Brian Jungen’s work deals with issues around the commercialism in First Nations art. When I see Jungen’s work, I think of issues around pan-Indianism. Pan-Indianism is when natives are looked at as one culture rather than a large group of many cultures. Some native artists use pan-indianism to their advantage, for example a Cree or Métis carving in a Northwest coast Native art style. So my question is; is Jungen’s work using pan-Indianism to his advantage or is he exposing the western art world’s attitude of pan-Indianism when dealing with Native artists. Either way, I like the work; you can feel the spirit or soul (pun intended) of the masks, they have a presence. I have friends who are non-northwest coast carvers who do great work, so I guess if you can take the criticism you can continue to do the work. (2 carvings by Ken Humpherville)