Local Art @ EPL: Ernest M. Whiteman III

February 13, 2020

ICONOCLAST: How I Stopped Worrying About “Native American Art” and Just be Northern Arapaho

An Exhibition of Ernest M. Whiteman III

The exhibit “ICONOCLAST” by Ernest M. Whiteman III will be on display throughout the month of February on the third floor exhibition space. This exhibit explores appropriation and identity within the context of “Native Art” culture. Using pen, ink, graphite, digital images, and pigment on ledger paper–Whiteman uses non-Arapaho cultural references to build powerful pieces full of visual puns. In lieu of “beads and feathers” images from Hollywood iconography are used as an inspiration for many of the pieces. Whiteman discusses that his creative process explicitly comes from not using Native culture in his art.

He describes the appropriation and subsequent commodification of Northern Arapaho culture leads to “the greatest desecration of Indigenous culture–the loss of authority over our own voices and culture.” This strong voice against commodification is echoed in Whiteman’s approach to his own artwork as well. He has created art across many media and genres because he loves making art–not with any desire to “make it” as an artist writing in his artist statement that he’d “rather stop than churn out product”.

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