May 17 - May 31, 2003
"Where White Men Fear to Tread"
Paintings by Russell Means and Jon McDonald
Photographs by David Michael Kennedy and James Wvinner
View Selected Works
An exhibition to generate awareness of the TREATY Total Immersion School
Track 16 Gallery is honored to present the exhibition "Where White Men Fear to Tread." Even as we currently experience the gradual deterioration of our basic rights, it is important to recognize that the sovereign American Indian Nations have suffered for centuries as they have struggled to gain the inalienable rights that most of us take for granted. The paintings and photographs in this exhibition share a common denominator: they create awareness of a legacy of destruction and they highlight the importance of preserving the American Indian culture. The exhibition is intended to generate awareness of the TREATY Total Immersion School, which is currently under construction on the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation in Shannon County, South Dakota. The TREATY Total Immersion School-the first of its kind for American Indians in the United States-has an innovative approach to educating children, seeking to foster their American Indian culture in every school-related activity. The exhibition will run from May 17 through May 31, 2003, with an opening reception on Saturday, May 17, from 6 to 9 P.M.
Russell Means, a Lakota patriot, is a life long indigenous rights activist, actor, author, and artist. As a child researching his heritage in the 1940s, Means was unable to find library catalogue entries under "Indian," but he did find a list of individual names under "Indian Killers," several of whom appear in this series: the series includes portraits of such famous Americans as General Custer, Reverend Chivington, Davy Crockett, and George Washington, to name a few. Each portrait will include a brief narrative from the American Indian perspective.
Jon McDonald's series of watercolor paintings, "The Facings of Extinction," depicts Pine Ridge youth and elders in their traditional regalia. A professor of art at Kendall College of Art and Design in Michigan, McDonald believes that his subjects are becoming extinct in a world where the rules are constantly changing. He hopes that the exhibition of these paintings will enable the audience to realize the importance of keeping this ancient culture alive.
The exhibition features two photographic series by David Michael Kennedy: one series features Lakota ceremonial dancers while the other examines quotidian life in and around Pine Ridge. The juxtaposition of the series establishes the inherent nobility of the subjects while demonstrating the contextual differences between the spiritual and mundane worlds.
James Wvinner's photographic series entitled "Partial Freedom" captures the ephemeral and fragile qualities of nature and the human figure. In the context of the current political situation, Wvinner seeks to show the impermanence of the body in nature as a metaphor for disappearing cultures and compromised freedoms.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Track 16 will host two special events. On Friday, May 16, Russell Means will lead a discussion on the topic "America Right or Wrong." On Friday, May 23, a fund-raiser will be held for the TREATY Total Immersion School, during which Means will discuss education in the American Indian culture. Both events are at 8:00 P.M.; admission is $5. Please RSVP by calling 310.264.4678-seating is limited. Means' best-selling autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread, will be available for purchase during the run of the exhibition. For more information, please visit our Web site at