Seminole/Mvskoke, b. 1951
Last Supper, 2011
Wax casts, tables, fabric, glitter and sand, posters
Collection of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
C. Maxx Stevens
In her installation Last Supper, C. Maxx Stevens examines the more indirect ways in which colonialism has had an adverse effect on Indigenous peoples. The work features a long table in three parts, draped with a sheer white tablecloth. Atop the table are wax casts of various junk-food items such as cheeseburgers, pastries and pizzas, all rendered in white. Though a beautiful arrangement of culinary treats, the food is inedible—in the original work, the foods were covered in shards of crushed glass, sparkling in their dangerous nature. Subsequent iterations of the work use a coating of glitter and sand—still sparkling, and still harmful if ingested. On the walls of the installation room are nutritional posters and food labels. A sobering scene occurs under the table, where casts of severed feet and walking canes reside. The work confronts the lived reality that Indigenous communities have some of the highest rates of diabetes in North America, all resultant from a settler diet not indigenous to these communities.
C. Maxx Stevens is an installation artist and a member of Seminole/Mvscogee Mvskoke Nation. She is a professor emerita from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She received an MFA in 1987 from Indiana University, a BFA in 1979 from Wichita State University, and an associate of arts degree in 1972 from Haskell Indian Junior College in Lawrence, Kan. She has been honored with many awards, including the 2005 Eiteljorg Fellowship Award, the 2000 Artist Grant from the Andrea Frank Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant. She has exhibited at the University of California at Davis, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Center for Contemporary Arts, the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, the University of Saskatchewan, the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, the Boise Art Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.