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Counting Coup on Curtis (series) by Tammie Dupuis

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About the work

“In the photographic portfolios of Edward S. Curtis, he very rarely notes the name of the Indigenous person he has photographed (especially if they present as female), preferring to title photographs of these people in ways that define them as specimens thereby dehumanizing them. Bankrolled by JP Morgan, Curtis was tasked with documenting the “vanishing race”, packaging his photographs in a way that supported this narrative to his non-Indigenous audience. In this ongoing series, I am purposely pushing back against Curtis’ by reclaiming images of these People and reimagining them in a more Indigenous way. By researching their tribal affiliation for the portrait backgrounds to reflect their cultural identity and presenting them in an Indigenous medium of glass beads, I am removing them from the view of Curtis’ non-Indigenous lens. In essence, reclaiming these Indigenous faces and stripping as much of Curtis’ damaging legacy as possible while reasserting the Indigeneity and humanity of these subjects. Through these works, I hope that people will remember these People in this way rather than in the way Curtis sought to present them.” -Tammie Dupuis

Currently on view as part of Reclamation on view at Southampton History Museum, May 10 – September 28, 2024.

Tammie was born and raised in Northwestern Montana, on the Flathead Reservation. Her father was Qlispe’ (Upper Pend d’Oreille) and Seli’š (Bitterroot Salish) and her mother was the daughter of non-Indigenous settlers who moved to the reservation in the 1920s. Her aesthetic is situated between these two cultural heritages and explores their complicated history as well as her own identity as a mixed blood person. Using both Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of making and seeing, her work ranges across several different processes and materials including but not limited to paint, wood, fabric, resin, hair, bone, paper, and beads. Tammie earned her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, located in Boston, MA, in 2022 and her BFA from Cornish College of the arts located in Seattle, WA in 2019. Additionally, she holds a BS in Anthropology/Archaeology from Montana State University, located in Bozeman, MT. She and her art practice are situated in Bremerton, WA.

Artwork: Counting Coup on Curtis (series), 2021 by Tammie Dupuis
10 x 8.5 inches Glass beads, canvas, interfacing, thread, and wood

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