Cowboy and Indian iconography are deeply rooted in America without recognition of the real history or the consequences of stereotypes. These generalizations are detrimental to the collective community and to the individual. Cowgirls and Indians explores these questions of identity and the influence of imagery.
Sarah Sense’s woven photographs layer images from her Chitimacha and Choctaw heritage with photographs from Hollywood and pop culture, the Chitimacha landscape of Bayou Teche, her Choctaw grandmother’s writings, and her two personas: Cowgirl and Indian Princess. The weaving together of strips of paper echoes a traditional Chitimacha basket technique and creates patterning that shifts the imagery between abstraction and recognition. The physicality of the weaving pushes the imagery forward and backward, creating a dialogue between the timelessness of the landscape and the temporal quality of everything else.
Like photographs, stories are a recorded history, merging time and memory. Sense weaves together images of struggle, landscape, and pop culture that pose questions about what we have been told. These stories about stereotypes of Native North America, guns and women being taken, are transformed by Sense, and revealed as new stories relevant for our time.
Sarah Sense’s photographs are held in the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum, Ft. Worth, TX; Asheville Art Museum, NC; Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana Museum, Charenton, LA; Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, Mexico City, Mexico; Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC, and others.