Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Nevada Littlewolf @ The Tweed

Pink hats on the left, "Make America Great Again" on the right.

Throughout the year the Tweed Museum of Art on the UMD campus hosts exhibitions of graduating seniors in a special section of the gallery. This week's show is the work of a graduating senior with much more life experience than many of the students whose work has been displayed here. Nevada Littlewolf has served on the Virginia (MN) city council since 2008. She has also been executive director of RAIL, Rural American Indigenous Leadership, an organization dedicated to supporting women.

Her show, This Is What Democracy Looks Like, is an outgrowth of her experiences in local politics. It is simultaneously a reflection of the recent national election which has amplified the polarizations taking place in America. 

If you decide to visit (there's a great Pop Art exhibit that you need to see right now) you will see that Ms. Littlewolf has plastered two of the walls with messaging from the two opposing sides so as to have them facing one another. The messages are taken from life, social media, etc. 

As you read the vitriol in some of the messages you begin to realize that America is in a painful place right now.  

WHAT FOLLOWS HERE are a set of images from each side of the room, presented much the way we were sometimes made to sit in grade school, boy-girl-boy-girl. I do not believe it was an accident to have placed the Hillary wall on the left and the Trump supporters' banter on the right.


Is dialogue possible? 
Actually, there may be more discussions going on right now than have taken place in a long time. Carla Hamilton's Gezielt at the DAI recently renewed dialogue on race relations in America. WTF at Studio 3 West this month revealed how unresolved gender issues remain in America. 

An argument could be made that the outrage is a good thing in that it brings out a lot of the unspoken thoughts and feelings that have been kept closeted for the sake of "getting along." It's apparent that we have a lot of work to do. 

What do you think?  

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