Archive for the ‘They Shudda Built a Wall’ Category

My next project is underway incited by David E. Stannard’s book AMERICAN HOLOCAUST: The Conquest of the New World (Oxford University Press, 1992). Stanard gives an undeniable fully documented account of the horrors of genocide and mass destruction of America’s indigenous peoples upon European first contact and centuries following. Much of the American Indian population was reduced by 98% (or extinct) within 50 short years. 98%! The violence, racism and “God-granted” entitlement devastated sophisticated intelligently organized Indian nations and cultures. Reading this book isn’t easy and has to be taken, for me, in small doses.

The THEY SHUDDA BUILT A WALL series includes oil on canvas portraiture, embroidered “savages” and quilting. We are about to celebrate Columbus day, Columbus being an American hero but in reality, as most Native Americans acknowledge, Columbus was the first to perpetrate a savage Holocaust on our indigenous peoples. His savagery incorporated diseases, enslavement, brutal dog attacks and generally horrifying practices to eliminate the people in his way.

In my painting of Columbus, the barbed wire swastika in his hand obviously references Hitler’s holocaust. Germans do not celebrate Hitler with “Hitler Day”.

I framed the painting with traditional sunbonnet kids quilt squares but instead of the farmers’/country sunbonnets, I gave them Spanish Conquistador helmets. Quilting is a feminine yet sentimental art form. Sentimentality can cover a host of sins. Sentimentality is often a sacred don’t touch this boundary. It can be a manipulative tool that frustrates challenges and has the ability to keep believers in the dark or willingly unconscious.

The savages in this series will be embroidered and applied over the portraits. Embroidery, like quilting, is a feminine art form thus softening the wild untamed savagery with which Columbus and subsequent explorers and religious zealots attacked and preyed on the people here long before them.


First in the series THEY SHUDDA BUILT A WALL. approx 48″ X 40.5″ o/c, cotton fabric, silver thread, sequins, burlap, dmc threads, linen fabric


dmc thread embroidery on linen


The corner cotton faquilt pieces are an abstraction on the crosses pictured on the sails of the 15th century Spanish sailing ships


cotton fabric, sequins, beads,button, burlap with gold threads, dmc thread


cotton fabric, sequins, beads, cotton burlap with gold threads, ribbon


All quilt squares: cotton fabric, gold thread, dmc thread, cotton burlap with gold thread, sequins, beads

Cotton fabric, silk fabric, silver thread, sequins, beads, dmc thread, cotton burlap with gold threads


All quilt squares: cotton fabric, dmc thread, sequins, beads, cotton burlap with gold threads



cotton fabric, dmc threads, silver thread, sequins, beads, cotton burlap with gold threads

Planned portraits in the series are:

Columbus, Cortez, Pedro de Alvarado, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Cotton Mather and others.

American Holocaust by David E. Stannard book


Copyright Tamara Ann Burgh 2016

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