New Mexico Art Tells its History

Matching Small Pox Suits for All Indian Families After U.S. Gov’t Sent Wagon Loads of Smallpox Infested Blankets to Keep Our Families Warm

Matching Small Pox Suits for All Indian Families After U.S. Gov’t Sent Wagon Loads of Smallpox Infested Blankets to Keep Our Families Warm (from the series Paper Dolls for a Post Columbian World), 1991
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith (American, French-Cree, born 1940)
watercolor pencil over photocopy on paper, 17 x 11 in. (43.2 x 27.9 cm)
Gift of Lucy R. Lippard, 1999
1999.15.301.7

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is a painter of Salish, French-Cree, and Shoshone heritage, born in St. Ignatius, Montana, and raised on the Flathead Reservation. She became an artist while in her 30s, and was already earning a living as a painter before she completed her M.F.A. degree at the University of New Mexico. By the mid-1970s Smith had also founded artists' groups, curated exhibitions, and organized grassroots protests to express her concern for the land and its people. Deeply connected to her heritage, Smith creates work that addresses the myths of her ancestors in the context of current issues facing American Indians. She works with paint, collage, and appropriated imagery, using a combination of representational and abstract images to confront subjects such as the destruction of the environment, governmental oppression of native cultures, and the pervasive myths of Euro-American cultural dominance.

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