The painting titled “American Indian” by an artist Fritz Scholder was created in 1970. Fritz is renowned for Indian series. He portrayed conventional images of the native people using free painterly style. In this painting, Scholder has portrayed a Native American man dressed in old-fashioned moccasins, bone-beaded neckpiece and an eagle feather on his head. The man also holds a tomahawk that has been enfolded in an American flag. The mode of dressing including the eagle feather probably indicates a person that is ready for a contemporary occasion. The strange facial expression of the man is rather disturbing and can be interpreted as a mockery to the viewers. In addition, the presence of the American flag at powwow might express the respect given to the native veterans in the Indian community. The American flag as depicted by Denzin (2016) may also symbolize the conflict of being an Indian and American at the era of Red power and political social action.
The second image (Fig. 2 below) is a painting that depicts “Injustice Case” by David Hammons.
Fig 2: Injustice Case (1970) by David Hammons
The painting was created in 1970 and symbolizes the sociopolitical aspects that affected the black identity. The period that Hammons created this period was known as the Black Arts era and the use of “body prints” was common. David used the body prints to symbolize the American flag, while as the black snapshots represented the black identity. The painting appears vague from a distance and the artist’s intention was to convey the plights suffered by the black identity without anyone showing any concerns.
The two images are similar since they both convey the plight suffered by the immigrants living in the USA in the 1970s. But, in the first image, the Native Americans are somewhat recognized based on the dressing code and invitation to special events. In the second image, the black race is voiceless and isolated from the Natives. Other artworks that use the US Flag to convey a message on civil rights include the “American People Series: Die (1967) by Faith Ringgold which depicts the severity of violence in the 1960s.
Denzin, N. K. (2016). Indians in Color: Native Art, Identity, and Performance in the New West. Routledge