Winter Count 1948
Rawhide, natural pigment, poplar frame, digital images
77” by 49” by 6”
From The Seven Screens
“I do not agree that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the Black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more world-wise race has taken their place.” -Winston Churchill justifying the racist ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in the above quotation.
(During the british colonial occupation of palestine Churchill testified at the hight of the British Colonial offensive against the Palestinians to the Peel Commission of Inquiry in 1937. Churchill justified the military action on the grounds of the racial superiority of the Jews to Arabs.)
The individual images (from the UN) are of the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians from their native lands at Israeli gun point (Al Nakba).
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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