Hide: Skin As Material And Metaphor
April 15 – July 31, 2011
For Native people, skin encompasses an entire universe of meaning. Our own skin functions as a canvas that we can inscribe with messages about our identity, or use as a shield, protecting and hiding our secrets. As a material, animal skin or hide has a long history within Native culture. It is a symbolic reminder of historical misrepresentation, exploitation, and racial politics.
The artists selected for HIDE draw upon this subject in many ways, using both the material and concept of skin as a metaphor for multi-faceted issues surrounding identity as well as personal, historical, and environmental trauma and perseverance. In their work, they interrupt our understanding of race, distort our perception of “skin,” and breach the artificial boundaries created by this potent subject matter. Rather than hiding difficult issues, they expose what is beneath the surface.
Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator
This exhibition was organized by the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. Special thanks to ART MÛR (Montreal) and Leo Kamen Gallery (Toronto). Michael Belmore’s work is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.