Installation shot of the exhibit

Indian Humor was organized by American Indian Contemporary Arts in 1995, and has since traveled to ten venues around the country. The exhibition features thirty-eight contemporary artists who address the issue of Indian humor from various Native perspectives. To give you more access to the artists' intent, we have incorporated their words throughout this installation.

- Kathleen E. Ash-Milby (Navajo) NMAI Assistant Curator/Curatorial Liaison for Indian Humor

return to Indian Humor

Indian Humor was organized to attempt to show both a small piece of the diversity which exists among living Native American artists and communities, as well as to counter institutionalized historical and cultural misrepresentations of Indian life. In spite of the fact that over five hundred federally recognized Native American tribes exist in the United States today, Native American cultures remain for many a monolithic entity frozen into a nostalgic, romantic past. We are living cultures.
  Indian Humor documents through visual expression the contexts of humor among Native Americans of different tribes. The vernacular images represented in this exhibition will help both Indians and non-Indians to redefine negative ideas and humorless approaches to viewing Native America. The artists utilize many approaches. Some images reflect historical events, activities of the trickster, non-Indians playing "Indian", humor found in domestic situations, "insider" private jokes and comical views of contemporary life in general. This is an exhibition the artists are really looking forward to sharing with you, the viewer.

- Sara Bates (Cherokee) Curator