Tribal People

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
1986
Pencil, paint, ballpoint pen, glue, glitter, on poster board
22 x 28 inches

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Description: 

In this ironic work, Willis dismisses the popular myth that groups so designated (Native Americans, Africans) are savage or uncivilized.

In this ironic work, Willis dismisses the popular myth that groups so designated (Native Americans, Africans) are savage or uncivilized. The "tribal people" upon whom the painting focuses form a loving and harmonious family, while a nearby group of "civilized" (not identified as, but intended to represent, members of the African American community) engage in a hostile skirmish. A rowboat separating the two groups is a reference to a slave ship that was the original link between them.