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Fifteen years after I set the first color pencil to a found early twentieth century photograph, the body of work (16 pieces) titled THE ENCULTURATED WHITE MAN: If Early America Had Embraced the Nobel Savage Instead of Attempting to Destroy it is coming to a finish. The work has been invited to to an exhibit in Flagstaff, AZ this November; details to come. During the following weeks I will be showing the series. A description of the work and my thoughts that inspired the work can be found on my website pages The Enculturated White Man.

The Enculturated White Man

EMW_01: 90″ X 27 1/2″ X 16 1/2″ Polychrome wood, color pencil on found B&W early 20th c photo, feathers, needlework, abalone shell, shell, sticks, twine, copper wire, cotton fabric, cotton velvet, buttons, gold braid.

It is difficult to get a sense of the scale with the above picture but the piece is 7 1/2 feet tall. The work is all done by me: color pencil drawing on found photo, needlework matting the photo, frame construction and carving and construction of the stands. This piece was inspired by Northwest Coast Native American Tribes.

The Enculturated White Man

EWM_01, Found early 20th c B&W photo altered with color pencil, carved polychrome wood, abalone shell, shell, twine, cotton, feathers, sticks, cotton material, cotton thread, silk, buttons

The Enculturated White Man

Found B&W early 20th c photo altered with color pencil by the artist, cotton threads, silk threads, cotton fabrics, buttons

copyright Tamara Ann Burgh all rights reserved, 2015

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THE ENCULTURATED WHITE MAN: If the Indians Had Won is
a body of work that can be viewed on my website. Having worked on some 16
pieces for 10 years, I am nearing completion. They are mixed media
pieces consisting of needlework and altered early 20th century found
black and white photos.

For this blog entry I will describe the process of constructing one
of the pieces.

Here is the original embroidery. The embroidery will wrap around a
framing mat so the inside needs to be “cut out”–rather finished in
order to fold back and around the inside mat. The mat is archival
bristol board.

The inside front with silk organza to finish the corners.

The mat is cut and covered with batting I have secured with large cotton thread stitches.

Backside of the ebroidered piece with batting and organza reinforcement.

Backside of enbroidery piece and batting

Completed construction

Back of the piece, also wrapped around board and batting

All pieces are signed with acid free ink on unbleached muslin tag. The photo/drawing is mounted to archival 1/4" foam core with archival mounting corners. The back is then wrapped with a material. I' I

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Below is a DETAIL of what I consider the signature piece of THE
ENCULTURATED WHITE MAN:
If the Indians Had Won
body
of work–a body of work I’m seeking to establish as a traveling
exhibition. The words are taken from the book: I HAVE SPOKEN: American
History Through the Voices of The Indians. (entry #30, pg. 19) The
embroidery work is an excerpt of the entry.

I Have Spoken

Normally I don’t appreciate type or written descriptions within a
piece of fine art. My goal is to create imagery that impacts on a mythic
or archetypal level(s) with the power to transcend the intellect or
fixed perceptions. In this piece, however, I chose to use an editorial
element as it enhances the theme of the work. In other words, the
statement credits the potential contribution to American culture Native
Americans could have made and, more important, were willing to make for
the success of the invasive white man on Native land.

canassatega

Detail: Original (unblocked) panel 6″ X 18″. Linen, DMC cotton, gold and silk thread on linen.

canassatega

canassatega

The entire book entry reads:

CANASSATEGO spoke for the Iroquois at the Treaty
of Lancaster, signed July 4, 1744. He replied to an offer of the
Virginia Legislature to the six Nations, inviting them to send six
youths to be educated at the Williamsburg College of William and Mary.

We know you highly esteem the kind of Learning taught in
these colleges, and the maintenance of our young Men, while with you,
would be very expensive to you. We are convinced, therefore, that you
mean to do us Good by your Proposal; and we thank you heartily. But you
who are so wise must know that different Nations have different
conceptions of things; and you will not therefore take it amiss, if our
Ideas of this kind of Education happens not to be the same with yours.
We have had some experience of it. Several of our young People were
formerly brought up in the colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were
instructed in all your Sciences; but, when they came back to us, they
were bad Runners, ignorant of every means of living in the Woods, unable
to bear either cold or Hunger, knew neither how to build a Cabin, take a
deer, or kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly, were therefore
neither fit for Hunters, Warriors, nor Counsellors, they were totally
good for nothing. We are however not the less obliged for your kind
Offer, tho’ we decline accepting it; and to show our grateful Sense of
it, if the Gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a Dozen of their Sons, we
will take great care of their Education, instruct them in all we know,
and make Men of them.

Several embroidery

Embroidery with cotton and metalic thread

Several embroidery

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Here is a sampling of the work for THE ENCULTURATED WHITE MAN: If the
Indians Had Won
. Hopefully, when the exhibit is scheduled, you will be
able to attend.

embroidery details

Details from the body of work-- The Enculturated White Man: If the Indians Had Won

  • Vegetal dyed cotton thread & beads
  • Vegetal over-dyed linen & DMC thread, pencil on b&w phto
  • Vegetal dyed cotton, silk thread & beads
  • Vegetal dyed cotton, beads & color pencil on b&w photo
  • Silk embroidery, beads, vegetal dyed porcupine quills on linen
    ground
  • Color pencil on b&w photo, silver embroidery thread, vegetal
    over-dyed cotton thread card weaving & cotton velvet
  • Vegetal over-dyed linen, silk thread, vegetal over-dyed DMC
    cotton thread
  • Color pencil on b&w photo, vegetal over-dyed cotton, silk,
    vegetal over-dyed crochet thread
  • Color pencil on b&w photo, vegetal over-dyed DMC cotton
    thread
  • Vegetal over-dyed DMC cotton thread & linen
  • Color pencil on b&w photo, vegetal dyed cotton, silver
    embroidery thread, vegetal over-dyed DMC cotton thread
  • Vegetal over-dyed DMC cotton thread, vegetal dyed cotton, vegetal
    dyed linen
  • Color pencil on b&w photo, vegetal dyed cotton and vegetal
    over-dyed DMC cotton thread
  • Size 15 seed beads on 18 ct canvas
  • Vegetal over-dyed cotton, silk, vegetal over-dyed DMC cotton
    thread
  • Color pencil on b&w photo
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    EWM Cover

    The Enculturated White Man: If the Indians Had Won booklet cover

    My 1/2 Eskimo father (d. 2003) experienced hurtful prejudices and other
    negative consequences growing up in the dominate white society of Nome,
    Alaska. I, on the other hand, grew up proud of my Native heritage.
    Recently a before and after picture of a group of Native Americans began
    a query in my mind: before pictured them proudly dressed in
    native dress, after they were buttoned up and restricted with
    their hair cut off. I began to wonder, while gazing at these sad
    pictures, what if the indigenous peoples of America had prevailed over
    the white man?

    I ask this question in light of today’s issues: Americans are in a
    panic over global warming. Americans still, I believe, feel a sense of
    entitlement of other’s resources (e.g. Iraq). Practitioners of the New
    Age movement identify, conjure and seek Native American spiritual
    counsel–once thought barbaric. Fundamentalists continue to literal-ize
    Christian history and symbolism resulting in a divisive “we’re in,
    you’re out” attitude. Finally, considering how the United States has
    lost respect from the rest of the world, I ask myself, “Were the Indians
    right after all?”

    For this exhibit, THE ENCULTURATED WHITE MAN: If the Indians Had Won, I’ve
    juxtaposed contrasting elements to shock and challenge the viewer to
    reconsider a very different outcome to the Indian wars. I’ve altered
    somber, stayed, high-buttoned puritan folk pictured in early 20th
    century photographs; with face paint, masks, jewelry and animal fur. I
    beg the viewer to imagine proper well-bred Victorian ladies sequestered
    in dimly lit parlors embroidering, weaving and beading under the
    influence of brightly colored, symbolized, energetic, tribal patterns
    and ritual.

    EWM 1

    One of 16 pieces that make up the body of work

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