June 12, 2012

Grand Procession

I've been asked by Great Plains Quarterly to review Lois Sherr Dubin's book Grand Procession: Contemporary Artistic Visions of American Indians.

The book just came in the mail and I'm pretty excited to check it out. It features the work of Jamie Okuma, the Growing Thunder women, and Rhonda Holy Bear, who are all amazingly talented Native American female artists worthy of large-scale recognition.

Grand Procession is an exhibit put together by the Denver Art Museum to celebrate the contemporary art practice of doll making. This isn't merely 'children's toys', but rather a sculptural art practice of creating human and animal figures all 'dolled up' in highly-detailed regalia. What I appreciate about these artists is the fact that they seek to accurately emulate Plains and Plateau clothing traditions from the 18th and 19th centuries, and they do so in full color and in three dimensions.

As noted in the introduction of the book, the biggest private collection of this artform comes from Charles and Valerie Diker. The Diker's lent their premier collection to the Denver Art Museum last year to launch the DAM's new gallery space that features art from the historic collection alongside art produced by contemporary artists - in particular, those who draw inspiration from the past, such as the artists in Grand Procession.

Click here to read up on Jamie Okuma, one of the artists featured in the book, or click here to check out her contemporary fashion.