Portraits of Indigenous People renderings with visions for the future by Artist Chris Pappan

Portraits of Indigenous People renderings with visions for the future by Artist Chris Pappan.

Chris Pappan is an American Indian artist of Osage, Kaw, Cheyenne River Sioux, and mixed European heritage. He prefers the term Indian over Native American, but uses both. His art reflects the dominant culture’s distorted perceptions of Native peoples while proclaiming that “we are still here!” A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and a nationally recognized painter, Chris calls his art “Native American Low Brow.” Chris exhibits in several Native American art shows and markets nationally including the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Indian Fair and Market, and the Eiteljorg. Chris currently resides in Chicago with his wife Debra Yepa-Pappan and their daughter.  Chicago-based artist Chris Pappan draws on the tradition of ledger art, a practice that flourished among Native populations throughout the Great Plains from around 1850 to 1920. 

“Axiom” (2016), mixed media on ledger, 16 x 16 inches. All images © Chris Pappan

He expands on the idea:

Through the medium of indelible ink, I am asserting our identity and our continued existence in the face of attempted erasure and negating the centuries of racist misrepresentations… In the re-appropriation of an object that may have been considered sacred to some, I hope to impose a sense of what Native people feel when we’re confronted with sacred objects or the bones of our ancestors displayed as macabre entertainment for capitalism.

Left: “Quantum” (2020), mixed media on embossed Evanston municipal ledger, 36 x 18 inches. Center: “Land Acknowledgement Memorial” (2019), digital image, public art installation in Austin, Houston, Chicago, Toronto, and New York City, 33 x 22 inches. Right: “Of White Bread and Miracles (Shield)” (2020), mixed media on Evanston municipal ledger, 36 x 18 inches
“See Haw Thwarts and Alien Invasion from the West” (2019), mixed media on Evanston municipal ledger, 18 x 23 inches
“Displaced Peoples” (2014), acrylic and mixed media on wood panel, 40 x 30 inches
“Atom Heart Mother (Earth)” (2016), mixed media on ledger, 16 x 10 inches
“La Sauvage” (2016), mixed media on mining certificate, 9 x 7 inches
This piece is from the permanent collection of The Field Museum currently on exhibit in DRAWING ON TRADITION: KANZA ARTIST CHRIS PAPPAN
The Hero Twins in Indian Territory.
pencil/graphite, acrylic, ink, map collage on 1905 ledger
Inspired by researching Kiowa ledger artists and their creation story. This piece attests to the archetypes that permeate stories from across the globe.

You can see more on his on Instagram and his site.

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