Raven Halfmoon, Norman, Oklahoma
Raven Halfmoon’s figurative sculptures explore her experience as a woman and Native American living in the US today. Her work expresses her feelings about and understanding of her Caddo tribal heritage, her determination to maintain a place for Caddo culture, and her concerns about current social issues. The latter include oppression, climate change, and the move in public and political discourse toward increased intolerance and distrust of other people, as well as disregard for our shared humanity.
In the form and surfaces of Halfmoon’s stylized human and animal figures, busts, and heads, there is a power and enduring solidity, regardless of scale. The coil and pinch techniques used to form the dark, rich clay create an active, energized, tactile pattern.
White color blocks, vertical red-striped patterns, and painted text emphasize aspects of the figures, including DO YOU SPEAK INDIAN? White drips extending below the eyes suggest that all is not well. On the back of the figure, the titular words scrawled like graffiti deface the surface and convey an antagonistic ignorance and a lack of respect. The stark incongruity between the front and back of the sculpture and connotations of the aggressive, superimposed text foreground the marginalizing of the individual while also communicating with people who may share a similar story or personal experience.