About the Photographer
Red Star, Wendy
Apsáalooke (Crow), b. 1981
Wendy Red Star works across multiple mediums, using photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance to explore Native American ideologies and to highlight how Native traditions and histories intersect with structures of colonialism. Raised in an artistically and culturally rich household on an Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star examines her intergenerational heritage through extensive research into historical archives. The resulting images combine traditional Native American symbols and rituals with stereotypical elements, expressing multiple perspectives in a way that is enticing yet unsettling. The photograph that is featured in this piece was found in the archives of the National Museum of the American Indian of Red Star’s great-great-grandmother, whose English name was Julia Bad Boy. The image is repeated and layered over a vivid star quilt pattern. Quilts, including those with this commonly used design, are considered sacred items that are shared and given away during ceremonial rights. However, quilting was brought to America with the colonialists and was taught to Native Americans by missionaries in the nineteenth century—the blankets became replacements for traditional buffalo robes as the bison population diminished. Through the combination of Julia Bad Boy’s portrait and traditional quilting patterns, Red Star expresses the complexity of Native cultural heritage and identity in the United States.
Wendy Red Star has exhibited in numerous venues in the US and abroad, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Foundation Cartier pour l’ Art Contemporain, Paris, France; Portland Art Museum, OR; Hood Art Museum, Hanover, NH; St. Louis Art Museum, MO; and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; among others. Red Star received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in 2017 and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in 2018.