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Tom Jones: I am an Indian First and an Artist Second
Madison-based artist Tom Jones is earning a national and international reputation for his powerful and insightful photographs. Jones’s work deals with issues of identity within the Ho-Chunk community. This exhibition features two bodies of work: I am an Indian First and an Artist Second and The North American Landscape. The first uses plastic Indian figurines and the genre of abstraction as a metaphor for what Jones perceives as a form of identity genocide. By taking photographic scans of the bases of plastic toy Indians, Jones shows the Indian figures fighting with one another. This unique perspective and limited availability of content helps to render the complexity of the story of Native identity in the 21st century. Jones’s second body of work, The North American Landscape, is a contemporary response to the early 20th-century Native American photogravures of Edward S. Curtis, whose work is in a parallel exhibition at MOWA.