May I Suggest ...


'Visions for the Future: A Celebration of Young Native American Artists, Vol. I,' by the Native American Rights Fund

ANADARKO, Okla. - The artistic and political heirs to Fritz Scholder and T.C. Cannon have been found by the Native American Rights Fund and collected into the book ''Visions for the Future: A Celebration of Young Native American Artists, Volume I.''

This catalog is a compilation of work that was displayed for NARF's inaugural Visions for the Future art show in Boulder, Colo., in November 2006, and contains statements from each artist featured within the catalog.

Each of the Native artists, ranging in age from 18 to 35, reflects the mission of NARF, which is to ''focus on the modern-day battles and issues of importance to today's Native Americans and the generations to come.''

This catalog blends the weapons of these ''modern-day battles'' for these artists, which uses not only art, but also hip-hop music to express viability for these issues for both Native and non-Native audiences.

The book begins with a collection of essays from journalist Jenni Ghahate-Monet; social worker, advocate and writer Tara Weber Pretends Eagle; featured artist Bunky Echo-Hawk; and a statement and lyrics from the Frejo brothers of Culture Shock Camp, Marcus ''Quese IMC'' and Brian ''DJ Shock B.'' These essays talk about the battles that still continue to keep tribal sovereignty and Native culture alive, and the use of contemporary forms and symbols within Native art and music to keep its messages in the public eye. Echo-Hawk, Yakama/Pawnee, writes, ''It is my hope that more artists will take up arms and address change through socially relevant art.''

The essays explain what is to be expected from this work. However, the art on the glossy pages speaks for itself, pulling the reader into a new reality that blends Native symbol with graphic art and sacred ceremony with everyday life. The subjects of these works range from the exploration of Native identity to the social concerns that tear at the fabric of Native life.

''Broken Chains,'' by Tuscarora/Cherokee artist Mathew Barkhausen III, starts the collection off with an Indian man breaking free from a set of manacles. This work sets the tone of many of the others that break free of the conventions that try to keep Native art confined.

For example, Choctaw artist Duane Dudley's work may seem like a painting of two men with loose fans recorded straight out of a Native American Church meeting. However, the title - ''Did You See the Game?'' - gives a different context that blends subtle humor with the sacred, not placing a line of demarcation between them.

One of Echo-Hawk's works, ''Tribal Law,'' graces the cover, shocking the expectations others may have of Native art, placing gas masks on a horse and a man wearing a Pawnee-style otter turban.

Echo-Hawk's other two works in the collection, ''Camp Crier'' and ''Inheriting the Legacy,'' also use the motif of gas masks as a vivid reminder of germ warfare that Native nations have faced since the war against colonization began.

Similar to Echo-Hawk, Muscogee Creek/Potowatomi artist Daniel McCoy Jr. shows the effects of chemical warfare through alcohol and drugs in his work, ''The Amazing Couch,'' with its vivid portrayal of commercialized visions of the horror of chemical addiction.

The work of Osage artist Thomas Ryan Red Corn also brings attention to current issues, with his hand-silk-screened posters taking on issues such as the misappropriation of Native images and symbols by professional sports teams with ''Retire Indian Mascots,'' and the importance of Native languages with ''Hidden Voices, Coded Words.''

Red Corn also finds ways to take relative terms such as ''insurgents'' and ''vandalism'' and show that these terms truly depend on the point of view. For example, ''Insurgents'' features the images of historical Native warriors and leaders, such as Quannah Parker, Sitting Bull, Set'taide and Geronimo, to let the viewer determine the real meaning of the word.

However, not all of these selected works deal directly with the struggles that Native communities face. Many also deal with discovering and recognizing Indian identity, such as the photographs of Chemehuevi artist Cara McDonald and Red Lake Nation member Valerie Norris, and the explorations of self-identity of Navajo artist Victor Pascual and Muscogee/Kiowa artist Micah Wesley.

The feelings and emotion of many of these artists can be summed up within the lyrics of Quese IMC: ''Their missions were a failure because they couldn't kill our spirit.''

The spirit of Native people is exemplified through these works, and the book can be found through Fulcrum Publishing.