Indigenous Cultural Abundance Overflows in Dana Claxton’s Vibrant Portraits

A portrait of a woman covered in Indigenous American beadwork, holding various accessories and emblems.

“Jeneen” (2018-2019), LED Firebox with trans-mounted chromogenic transparency, 60 x 40 inches. All images © Dana Claxton, shared with permission

In the vibrant, enigmatic portraiture series titled Headdress, Vancouver-based artist Dana Claxton celebrates Indigenous cultural abundance. Intricately stitched feathers, embellished baseball caps, and elaborately beaded jewelry spill over five figures, almost completely obscuring their faces. “In these portraits, the beadworks cover and espouse the womxn’s silhouettes, becoming more than just objects,” Claxton says in a statement. “The beadworks are cultural belongings, and the womxn are cultural carriers.”

The artist photographs each individual with her own possessions, such as Jeneen’s collection of accessories spanning three generations of Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation ancestry in Old Crow, Yukon. Dee and Dana wear pieces from an inter-tribal collection made by artisans from the Four Directions. Connie, who Claxton describes as a “matriarch of beadwork,” dons her own hand-beaded works, and Shadae includes a variety of caps, including a Coast Salish woven cedar hat, and her husband’s ceremonial powwow fans known as peyote fans.

Claxton’s work is included in the recently published book An Indigenous Present, and in 2024, the artist will present a solo exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. You can explore much more work on her website.

A portrait of a woman covered in Indigenous American beadwork, holding various accessories and emblems.

“Dana” (2018-2019), LED Firebox with trans-mounted chromogenic transparency, 60 x 40 inches

A portrait of a woman covered in Indigenous American beadwork, holding various accessories and emblems.

“Shadae” (2018-2019), LED Firebox with trans-mounted chromogenic transparency, 60 x 40 inches

A portrait of a woman covered in Indigenous American beadwork, holding various accessories and emblems.

“Connie” (2018-2019), LED Firebox with trans-mounted chromogenic transparency, 60 x 40 inches

A portrait of a woman covered in Indigenous American beadwork, holding various accessories and emblems.

“Dee” (2018-2019), LED Firebox with trans-mounted chromogenic transparency, 60 x 40 inches

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Indigenous Cultural Abundance Overflows in Dana Claxton’s Vibrant Portraits appeared first on Colossal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.