"MOK UH SINS"
Jaque Fragua © 2014
Neon signage, SFNM
10 x 24 inches
Photo by Daniel Tullie
This piece is designed as a conceptual creation with the intention of installation in a public space, ideally in America. The text alludes to the contextual marketing of Native American roadside curios culture, a lot of which still exists on highway I-40 aka Route 66. Since the annexation of the Southwest by the U.S. in the mid 19th century, non-native settlers and visitors have exploited Native culture through tourism and spectacle, Indian Market as a prime example of Western capitalist efforts. This exploitation is still occurring currently in 2014, and as an existing issue it is a small but charged problem Native Americans are faced with. This is primarily an issue that corrupts the identity of our very unique cultures; a systematic approach at dismantling communities and interrupting their ways of life by homogenizing people into a category that appears as historical, consumable, and by all means dead, to others and sometimes to ourselves, unfortunately. Hence the marketing of our cultural relics and spiritual artifacts, things you would normally see in a national museum of most other cultures. However, with Native American culture, you can pick up such representations of the homogenized oppressed identity in shops on the side of the road, while you refuel and stock up on some kettle corn. While not overt, this is a pattern that slowly colonizes and degrades human beings to a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness, which is definitely a visual result that can be observed on most Indian reservations in modern times.
The word “moccasin” is an American adaptation of a word that is derived from the Algonquian language Powhatan, which essentially is “shoe”, according to wikipedia. I’ve created a neon sign that reads in the phonetic appearance of moccasins. In this way, I can attract more attention from the viewer and engage a dialogue in the deeper meaning. Because no marketing genius would ever spell what they’re selling phonetically, this would just create more confusion in the buyer.
Neon signs are essential to the roadside culture of the Southwest. While traveling on Route 66, at night you could find your perceived destinations with ease. In a similar way, I’m attracting the passenger to an issue that is mostly overlooked and demeaned. The appropriation of Native cultural items/symbols such as “moccasins”, headdresses, jewelry, whirling logs, etc. leads people to believe that there is nothing sacred about us as human beings and that what we create and contribute to culture and to the world is nothing but meaningless mass-produced crap. This piece is a look into the current dialogue of our superimposed identity and how we can change how we are perceived and how we perceive our respective Native communities and our own selves.
New shirts up for sale
Hand printed silkscreen on American Apparel white t-shirts.
Holes produced by Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun.
Sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL
"CLAP ALONG IF YOU FEEL LIKE GENOCIDE IS THE TRUTH"
Jaque Fragua © 2014
South Bay Contemporary works on display. #palosverdes #southbay #la #losangeles #contemporary #art #native #nativeamerican #fragua (at NATIVE AMERICA)
Live painting at South Bay Contemporary opening 2014. Photo by Nia MacKnight.
#art (at La Cienega, New Mexico)
Saturday night #LA heads roll thru. I will also join @yatikafields in some live painting action! Boom👊 #art #yabish #southbay #lbc #sanpedro #compton (at South Bay Contemporary / Zask Gallery)
Its ready! Pick one up at www.fragua.bigcartel.com $30 for this limited edition of 25. Hollaback… (at Joshua Tree National Park)