Ghost Dance Dress
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Oil, collage and mixed media on canvas
Gift of Dorothee Peiper-Riegraf in honor of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Arlene LewAllen (1941-2002)
This work by the Salish, French-Cree, and Shoshone artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith explores the challenges of Native American coexistence with American culture. The Plains woman’s dress featured prominently in the painting is worn by those in the Ghost Dance Religion to recall the vision of John Wilson (better known as Wovoka), who prophesied that white people would vanish and Native Americans would return to take back the land that was once theirs. The religious movement offered hope to many homeless, ill, and hungry Native Americans, and its message and surrounding tensions are, according to the artist, conveyed through various elements in this work: the eagle appears as a messenger of the prophecy; bingo cards are meant to represent the Catholic Church’s introduction of gambling to reservations; and written texts convey the “Queen of Hearts” children’s rhyme, a reference to power.
This item is not on view
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Flathead, born 1940). Ghost Dance Dress, 2000. Oil, collage and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 48 in. (182.9 x 121.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dorothee Peiper-Riegraf in honor of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Arlene LewAllen (1941-2002), 2006.79. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006.79_PS11.jpg)
overall, 2006.79_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2018
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© Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
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Tell me more.
This painting depicts the dress worn by Native American women who were members of the Ghost Dance religion.
The Ghost Dance religion is an intertribal Native American movement that emerged in the late 19th century. Performing the dance was said to reanimate the spirits of dead Indians, who would join together with the living to force out white settlers and reassert native peoples’ way of life.
The artist's work explores her own Native American heritage and the ways her heritage intersects with white settler society both past and present.