The Indian Congress (2021)

Wendy Red Star
The Indian Congress
Mixed media Dimensions variable
Collection of Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, USA; museum purchase in memory of Bruce Alan Simon, 2021.3
Courtesy of the artist


By juxtaposing mass media depictions of Indigenous peoples with authentic cultural identities, Wendy Red Star creates personal, playful, revelatory and unsettling work. The Indian Congress (2021) is an immersive reproduction of an agricultural booth from the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, Nebraska’s world fair, which coincided with the Indian Congress, an unprecedented convening of citizens representing 35 Native American sovereign nations. The installation features cut-out reproductions of Indian Congress members’ portraits alongside a 1898 portrait of White Swan, a well-known Apsáalooke scout. The artist draws on archival research, historical site visits and her own experiences to foreground Indigenous agency and collectivity at the dawn of the American empire.