JFK as an Indian; Icons, Assassinations, and Indiginy – Jimmy Descant

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Opening Reception: October 4th 2013 7-10pm

Exhibition:October 4th-October 28th, 2013


My Father took 9 pictures of JFK on the campaign trail in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2 minutes in August, 1960 after marrying my Mother who grew up in Grand Haven, Mich. I grew up in New Orleans, where my Father is from. The 1″ negatives were given to me when I was young, and I had 2 sets developed as snapshots in the 1980’s. The negatives and photos survived Hurricane Katrina with little else, in a suitcase in my attic.

In 2009 and 2010 respectively, I created 2 assemblages using those snapshots, and I was accepted to the 2nd annual ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Mich. to exhibit as the featured artist at the featured venue, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), which was built on the site of the buildings in the background of the photos, and within a couple blocks of where my Father took the pictures, and to the month of the 50th anniversary of that day in my family’s history.

My exhibit called “JFK and Rocketships” was a combination of my vintage vacuum cleaner rocketship sculptures and the JFK pics blown up and framed to 2’x3′ in great clarity; in a juxtaposition of past and future, and history of a President and manufacturing industry, and what eventually befell them.  I showed one assemblage, “Building The Future From The Past”, at The Ogden Museum Of Southern Art in New Orleans in 2012 for my solo show “The Shape Of Louisiana, Commenting On The Shape Of Louisiana”.

Denver 2013 Show:

Later this year it will be the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination on Nov. 22, 2013 and I will exhibit some of the same 2’x3′ pics at LEON Gallery. But with assemblage/collage applied in my style of no welding, all bolted or screwed together to create my Western vision and commentary of what White Man has done to Native Americans as well as our best leaders, visionaries, and their positive potentials in the use of violence to change history; as a comparison.

I take my talents as an artist, my family and country’s historical artifacts, the usurped word ‘hope’; and lift up the past and the truth into a positive strength that mocks the weakness of the invasive race’s saboteurs, as well as reassures the future of potentials of the First Peoples of this continent.  As well as JFK pics, I will exhibit a 12′ train construction from the live art event “This Train” in Salida, a Navajo peace sign (swastika) made from crutches, and other Native influenced assemblages.

Jimmy Descant:

I am a self taught artist of 17 years professionally, after touring the country and world as tour manager and guitar tech to the stars for 15 years. I am of Tunica-Biloxi native blood in mid Louisiana, but have been told I am not Indian enough to be a member, but that’s my own fault of growing up in New Orleans instead of the reservation. After 7 years in Salida, CO. I have come to a better understanding, interest, and depiction of Western tribes influences and the feelings, and the art brought on by the closeness of the spirits, mountains, and deserts.