Red Star, Wendy. Enit. Six-color lithograph. 2010. 22 3/8 x 30 inches.
Having grown up on the Crow Indian Reservation I’ve always had a fondness for the broken down reservation cars and colorful cookie cutter government houses that litter the landscape. Now living in Portland, Oregon when I travel back to visit my reservation it is always comforting to see those junky cars and vibrant houses. They are the first things I see which welcome me back home. Often these cars and houses are viewed as blemishes that indicate laziness, poverty, and a deficiency in education. Living around these cars and houses though, they have come to represent a resilient and proud community to me-a community that overcomes obstacles to keep its culture alive. I see beauty in these objects and in their particularity they somehow make me proud to be a part of evolving Crow culture.
Over the years I have been documenting those “rez cars” and government houses. I am attracted to the character each house and car carries, the dents and cracked windows, the hot pink and pea green houses. There is a drama to each house and car as they show off their battle wounds, which contain stories connected to their reservation lives. As objects they are both intriguing and mysterious. I feel like they are calling out to be observed-offering the viewer a glimpse into the lives of the people that own them.
The complexities of reservation life collide in the print “enit,” which pairs a patched together aesthetic with a stunning moment from a proud community. The two women in the picture ride on top of a wildly decorated parade car while wearing buckskin outfits and looking out across an abstracted landscape.
Courtesy of Regional Arts & Culture Council Portable Works Collection. © the Artist.
Artist Credit: Wendy Red Star
Exhibition: Regional Arts & Culture Council Portable Works Collection