Control of the Savages
Rawhide, poplar frame, digital video projection
48” by 32” by 6”
From The Seven Screens
Sculptural UN refugee tents are used as video projection screens. These tents are reminiscent of Plains Indian teepees painted with historical pictographs. The video footage here depicts acts of violence meted out by the Israeli Defense Forces against the stone throwers of the Intifada and of the forced eviction and destruction of Palestinian homes to make way for illegal Israeli settlements.
Winter Count paintings were made by the Plains Indians such as the Cheyenne. These history paintings on buffalo robes used pictographs representing significant events in lieu of a written language. As these events were recorded in the dead of winter hence they were called Winter Count paintings. The Box and Border design featured here was once painted on the backs of Cheyenne buffalo robes worn in cold weather. Here they are painted in all natural pigment like the originals. Ringsby has taken this tradition and reworked it combining images from Palestine as he wishes to forge a parallel between the histories of these oppressed native peoples. The images used in Ringsby’s Winter Count paintings were either sent to him by friends in the peace movement in the Occupied Territories or from the UN. The text was found by the artist in the course of his exhaustive research preparations for “The Indian Wars-Palestine.”
Full rawhide skins have been impregnated with video and photographic images of atrocities committed in the Occupied Territories and Israel. The historical allusion is to the buffalo hide painting of the Plains Indians that artistically documented their battles. Neither people had a voice in the media; both watched helplessly as their cultures were leveled. The world was not moved by the plight of the Indian nor of the Palestinians until it was too late.
Click to read 2004 Press Release.
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