Phillip Charette Art Blog
The Burke Museum is supporting the efforts of the 100 year anniversary of the Alaskan Yukon Pacific Exposition that took place in 1909, but they are doing so from the perspective of indigenous peoples of Alaska, and the impact on their culture and lives. They invited me to participate at the beginning, and part of what they asked for was a mask that they could hang during the exhibit.
I supplied the piece titled "Poisoned" because it felt to me like the right piece. I built this piece of art as a statement about how white collectors and curators (including large museum, and you know who you are) inflicted serious and lasting damage on the artifacts of indigenous peoples.
They haphazardly and sloppily repaired pieces with black epoxy, wrote the name of the person who "collected" (we use other more appropriate references to how they "collected" our work) the piece in large black magic marker and stamped them with identifying numbers on the outside of the piece, and then doused them in poison in order to "preserve" them. These artifacts, which belonged to our people, are forever changed. Even with the reclamation act on our side, what we get in return is not and will never be what they took from us.
The Burke Museum was happy to take this piece for the exhibit, given all that it means and how it really emphasizes the impact that white people had on the indigenous peoples of the Alaska-Yukon. I will be participating in a panel on May 30 at the Burke Museum that addresses this topic.
Last night I agreed to sell the piece to the Burke Museum. It will remain on permanent display at the museum.
If you truly have an interest in hearing the story from the voice of indigenous peoples, and not the stories you were told in school, I invite you to attend the exhibit.
To find out more, visit: http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/exhibits/details.php?ID=72&type=upcoming