Critical Writing Index

Indigenous (re)memory and resistance: video works by Dana Claxton

by Clara Taunton

Post Script - Essays in Film and Humanities, Summer 2010, v. 29, no. 3, pp. 44-57

Taunton examines how the multifaceted artistic practice of Hunkpapa Lakota artist Dana

Claxton intertwines her indigenous worldviews with contemporary Aboriginal realities to create a visual language that exposes legacies of colonization, critiques settler histories, and asserts previously silenced indigenous perspectives. Although her vast body of work includes films, installations, performances and photography, her intricately layered video pieces are some of the most salient examples of her activist practices. Taunton explores the ways that Claxton reframes archival photographs and film, personal interviews, contemporary music samples, and iconic images to simultaneously critique and create. A key aspect of her decolonization project is the sharing of indigenous stories, a strategy that foregrounds (re)memory and resistance. Taunton argues that Claxton's videos function as vehicles toward indigenizing social memory -- a role that is rooted in sovereignty, self-determination, and survival. For her theoretical framework, Taunton draws on the writings of two indigenous scholars, Steven Loft and Jolene Rickard.

ITEM 2010.116 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

I Want to Know Why (1994)Dana Claxton

Buffalo Bone China (1997)Dana Claxton

The Hill (2004)Dana Claxton

Moose Jaw Sioux (2004)Dana Claxton

Sitting Bull (2004)Dana Claxton

Her Sugar Is? (2009)Dana Claxton