- Gallery Text
Heap of Birds draws ties between Indigenous identities, natural landscapes, and various forms of power and prejudice. The text of
this print speaks in the voice of European Americans who displaced Indigenous peoples while taking their names and images for mascots, their products for national heritage, and their land for cities. The term “natural” spelled backward looms above the text, “puncturing,” as the artist puts it, the logic of the statement that follows. Dense black and blue shapes weave around and through the words. Are they birds in flight, silhouetted animals, or simply abstractions? They evoke, perhaps, Heap of Birds and his ancestors, whose names appear in the work’s title: Black Wolf, the artist’s great-great-grandfather and headsman of the Cheyenne Elk Clan, and Hachivi (Many Magpies), the artist’s family name, which was forcibly changed to Heap of Birds in the late 19th century by the U.S. military. Through text and abstraction, the artist examines injustice with deeply intimate and historical roots.
- Identification and Creation
- Physical Descriptions
- Screenprint on white wove paper
- Screen print
- 177.8 × 114.3 cm (70 × 45 in.)
mat: 189.2 × 119.4 cm (74 1/2 × 47 in.)
- Edgar Heap of Birds, created 1989; [Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, PA], sold; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2018.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
- © Edgar Heap of Birds
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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