Cheyenne River Sioux artist, Cheyenne Randall, b. 1978, investigates identity and the idea of celebrity obsession and apotheosis in his work. Working in digital photography, Photoshop, paint, and wheat paste installation, the artist delves into constructed
notions of individuality and the semiotics of representation, while concurrently questioning subcultural practices such as tattooing and graffiti, examining the liminality between sanctioned and unsanctioned works of art. The artist also represents his Indigeneity by including iconic images of Indigenous North American leaders and honoring them with a reverence and contemporary aesthetic – cementing the fact that Native America was and is still here, illuminating notions of survivance. In his public art installations, Randall democratizes art, creating a gallery space en plein air and eliminating hierarchical and institutional structures of authority. In his Shopped Tattoo series, the artist superimposes tattoos onto iconic historic and celebrity figures, redressing their identity, interrogating material and popular culture – while also questioning practices of self-identifying and the representation of imbricated identities. In Randall’s landscapes, the artist creates surreal imagery, subverting colonial views of the landscape, land ownership, and fetishization of the natural world.
This public art project, which was installed between Feb. 2 through 8, 2018, Randall, in collaboration with Fine Arts Curator Erin Joyce, selected locations throughout the 8-acre campus of the Heard Museum, and on the Navajo Nation in Grey Mountain, Arizona. The murals activate these environments in an engaging way, allowing visitors to explore lesser frequented corners of the grounds and underutilized wall space on the interior of the Museum, and creates connection points between the Heard and Indigenous communities of Arizona.