Contemporary Native Art to Russia

This website shows the art and artists involved in the June-July 2012 Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Art and the September-October 2012 Novosibirsk State Museum of Art biennial.

Debra Yepa-Pappan

Lives in Chicago, Illinois

Debra Yepa-Pappan, a Jemez Pueblo and Korean artist, identifies herself as a mother first, a wife and an artist second, and a Chicagoan third. Her work is primarily about the artist’s identification with both Korean and Native cultures. As the artist states, “ There are certain expectations of what Native art should look like, certain types of imagery that are expected; such as eagle feathers, horses, wolves, howling coyotes, or Indians in buckskin with long flowing hair blowing in the wind. What I try to do is challenge those stereotypes. With my work and the shows I’ve curated, I like to convey that Indians are contemporary people, that we are just as much a part of society, living and functioning just like everyone else. And yes, we are still here!” Her piece Live Long and Prosper (Spock was a Half-Breed) depicts a neon-colored tipi with a the starship Enterprise flying above and a Native American Woman with Vulcan ears stating the Vulcan catch-phrase, “Live Long and Prosper.” The colors and popular culture reference reflects the artist’s interest in the Pop Art of Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Barbara Kruger as well as in Plains art, an enthusiasm she shares with her husband Chris Pappan and her friends America Meredith, Amber Gunn Gauthier, Ryan Singer, Monty Singer, singer, and others. As undoubtedly the most repressed minority in American history Native Americans, have been able to do anything but “Live Long and Prosper.” As the artist states, “I believe in integrity. It’s important to maintain it, to be true to oneself and to others. Own who you are.”


Debra Yepa-Pappan, Ceci N'est Pas Une Indienne, archival digital inkjet print 2008

Debra Yepa-Pappan, Live Long and Prosper (Spock Was A Half-Breed), archival digital inkjet print, 2008