Native American stereotypes in ceramic boomboxes?

January 20, 2014

Writers, artists and other creatives seek unique ways of expressing themselves. There’s only one Hunter S. Thompson, for example. Only one Shakespeare. Probably.  Only one Georgia O’Keefe.  If you like creatives who push the envelope, you’ll love The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts of Santa Fe. While there this past fall, I was lucky enough to see a unique exhibition called “Stereotype: Misconceptions of the Native American,” by Cannupa Hanska Luger, a Lakota conceptual artist. It’s both subversive and humorous in its ironic representations of iconic traditional objects, and their relation to our reality today.

His ceramic sculptures of boom boxes hit hard celebs he calls “cultural appropriators.” His art and commentary also lay to rest certain common stereotypes, like Indian Princess (no such thing), the way Chiefs are depicted and more. Walk through a bit of his work below and see how many you recognize.


radiosLook closely. What do you see?



radio peace


radio chief

Clever. Thought-provoking. Creative I loved it, and if you’d like to read an interview with the sculptor and see some of his cultural references, go HERE.

6 comments on “Native American stereotypes in ceramic boomboxes?
  1. Fascinating! The words of the artist speak to me more than his art, but I do find his creations amusing and well crafted. Ceramic?! Very cool work! Amazing detail. Wonderful colors! I went to his site – thank you for the link, Carol – and I liked very much what he said in his bio: “Now is the time to love and to fail and to learn and to decay, the universe is, and that is all…and so it goes…” So young, and he is so wise! He has a mixed heritage, as do many of us. And he does not have to claim one aspect of this, he “owns” it. So simple. So clear and true. It un-complicates a struggle I have been pondering and addressing in my writing and story and in my own heritage/identity. A gem of presentation, Carol.

  2. Karen says:

    I love it! So many First Nation cultural and religious icons have been appropriated by Europeans–I always laugh when I see dreamcatchers dangling from rear-view mirrors, for example. They’re supposed to catch evil dreams while you’re asleep…which might say something about the state of the drivers of those cars!

  3. Shelton Keys Dunning (@SheltonKDunning) says:

    My brother and I were the only Native Americans in our school district growing up. I have to laugh at all the misconceptions, because there are a ton of them, and if I don’t laugh, I cry. There’s more than most people realize.

    He’s a brilliant artist. Thank you for showcasing his work.

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