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What Native Looks Like Now: Embodiment in Contemporary Indigenous Art, 1992–Present

Tyquiengco, Marina Amber Eldh (2021) What Native Looks Like Now: Embodiment in Contemporary Indigenous Art, 1992–Present. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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What does it mean to look Native and what do the stereotypes of Indigenous appearance have to do with actually being Indigenous in the 21st century? This dissertation examines embodiment as a concept and an artistic strategy utilized by four contemporary Indigenous artists—Fiona Foley, Christian Thompson, Kent Monkman, and Erica Lord—who explore these questions in their artistic practices. Badtjala artist Fiona Foley (Australian, b. 1964) emphasizes Aboriginal womanhood in her multimedia practice, drawing from research and her Badtjala heritage. Christian Thompson (Australian, b. 1978) uses himself as a medium to enact Aboriginality as an evolving concept, exploring his Bidjara, Welsh, and Jewish background within the space of museums. Similarly, Fisher River Cree Nation artist Kent Monkman (Canadian, b. 1965) takes up his invented character Miss Chief to correct wrongs of colonialism, emphasizing intersectionality as a Two-Spirit, mixed Cree artist. The artist Erica Lord (American, b. 1978) uses her practice to demonstrate how, as a Tanana Athabascan and multiethnic woman, her appearance shifts while her connection to her family and community does not. This study considers how the histories of these artists’ communities, which became Indigenous through the forces of settler colonization, is reflected in these artists’ lived experience, and is reflected upon in their practices. Collectively, their art demonstrates the ways in which embodiment can articulate Indigeneity, not as an essential identity but as a plethora of possibilities. Drawing from art history, and Native and Indigenous studies, this dissertation theorizes Indigeneity as an expansive and relational identity, irreducible to existing stereotypes.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tyquiengco, Marina Amber Eldhmtyquiengco@gmail.commat1860000-0001-5333-5304
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSmith, Terencetes2@pitt.edutes2
Committee MemberJosten, Jenniferjej40@pitt.edujej40
Committee MemberEllenbogen, Joshjme23@pitt.edujme23
Committee MemberHorton,
Date: 8 October 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 August 2021
Approval Date: 8 October 2021
Submission Date: 4 August 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 312
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: indigenous art, contemporary art, photography, film, performance
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 19:22
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 19:22


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