Indigenous Americans: Post Colonial Expressions at STRAAT Museums

Written by Zoe Elizabeth Gottehrer

The STRAAT Museum in Amsterdam and its in-house STRAAT Gallery proudly announce their upcoming exhibition Indigenous Americans: Post Colonial Expressions. This exhibition will focus on four contemporary artists with Native American heritage: Kaplan Bunce, Danielle SeeWalker, Anthony Garcia Sr. & Jaque Fragua.

As part of STRAAT’s ongoing mission to expose the public to the diversity of street art and graffiti culture worldwide, this exhibition reveals and celebrates a unique underexposed subculture within. Indigenous Americans: Post Colonial Expressions speaks to the unity that a diverse culture embodies, and to the deeply rooted history of Indigenous makers and their relationship with public space painting. 

All 4 artists will be in attendance at the public opening on Saturday, April 8th. In addition to the gallery exhibition, which runs through Sunday, June 4th, 2023, each artist will also create a mural-scale work for STRAAT’s permanent collection in the massive main hall. 

STRAAT has already begun an open dialogue with Kaplan Bunce and Danielle SeeWalker to set the stage and prepare in welcoming these incredible artists to Amsterdam. This dialog will continue with an artist Q&A, which will take place during the night of the opening between 7:30 – 8:00 pm. The Q&A is an unique opportunity for our guests to engage and dive deeper into the artist’s personal experiences, beliefs, connections and processes.

Kaplan Bunce, Apache wood-worker, and a mural artist, was born and raised in Washington State and now resides in Kaua’i, Hawaii. Bunce, whose Apache heritage is tied to Albuquerque, New Mexico, supports his Native heritage by dancing in powwows and raising his daughters while instilling knowledge of their tribal identities. Bunce is a veteran participant in the world-renowned mural event POW-WOW and has been both a bridge and communicative advocate for the event which has had to address appropriation concerns over its name. @kapache1

When speaking on how the Contemporary Urban Art landscape looks from an Indigenous American artist perspective, Kaplan Bunce says, “I see unity in the community and have found that by continuously practicing my indigenousness throughout these spaces I am continuing a pathway made by those who have been making marks on walls for all of time. We are making marks on walls to tell the world ‘I was here, and I made this’. This human endeavor is beautiful and a source of evolution towards unity.” 

Danielle SeeWalker is Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta and citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. She is an artist, writer, activist, and ‘boymom’ of two, based in Denver, Colorado. Her artwork pays homage to her identity as a Lakȟóta wíŋyaŋ (woman) and her passion to redirect the narrative to an accurate and insightful representation of a contemporary Native American whilst still acknowledging historical events. @seewalker_art

Danielle SeeWalker sheds light on language and themes used in her work, she says, “I find a lot of inspiration in my practice from my culture, my identity and the idea of decolonizing the way I think and put myself out there. One thing lately that I’ve been really thinking about is this idea that the word “art” is not a word found in my language. The word “šičúŋ” is the closest thing that we have to describe the act of creating art and it loosely translates to ‘leaving your spirit or your influence someplace’. Art is leaving a piece of your spirit or influence behind when your physical body is not present. I think about this a lot and how artists’ spirits transverse through time and leave behind a piece of them for the future.”

Joining Kaplan Bunce and Danielle SeeWalker will be Anthony Garcia Sr. and Jaque Fragua. Anthony Gracia Sr. is a Chicano multifaceted creative entrepreneur and community leader recognized for his public artwork, community outreach programming, and his leadership in championing emerging artists through his foundation the Birdseed Collective. Last but not least, Jaque Fragua, who is an indigenous artist, musician, and activist whose work features visions drawn from traditional Native American design, ceramics, textiles, tattoos, song, dance, and more.

Indigenous Americans: Post Colonial Expressions is curated by Hyland Mather, STRAAT Gallery curator.

Indigenous Americans: Post Colonial Expressions 

Jaque Fragua | Anthony Garcia Sr. | Danielle SeeWalker | Kaplan Bunce

April 8, 2023 – June 4, 2023

Free public opening Saturday 8th of April 2023 | 7 pm – 10 pm
NDSM-plein 1
1033WC Amsterdam
The Netherlands

All photos courtesy of the artists.

Words by Zoe Elizabeth Gottehrer