Phillip Charette Art Blog
This piece is a smaller and less complex version of the large Poisoned piece, although the meaning remains the same. The large mask was installed at the Burke Museum in Seattle, WA for their "Indigenous Voices Reply" exhibit. This exhibit is in coordination with the 100 year commemorative of the Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition in 1909. The large piece has just been purchased by the Museum and will remain on permanent display there. I will be speaking on a panel of native artists at the museum May 30. You can find out more about the exhibit and see an image by visiting the Burke Museum website as http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/ayp/index.php
MEANING: Poisoned was inspired by pre-contact Yup'ik masks I handled at the Smithsonian that were seriously damaged. Early curators and collectors soaked a number of masks in arsenic and then stamped poisoned on them. These early collectors did poor repair work, which is expressed by the dark scar with a blood smear. They then put graffiti on the mask with a serial number, location piece was collected, and who collected the piece. Teardrops in blood show spiritually hurt yua's in the masks.