Object photography

View of the artwork on display in 'Intersections: Native American Art in a New Light'; Peabody Essex Museum; 2006 through 2012.
View of the artwork on display in 'Intersections: Native American Art in a New Light'; Peabody Essex Museum; 2006 through 2012.
Click image to enlarge +

Object description

  • Judith Lowry (Maidu, Hamowi Pit River and Washoe, birth 1948)
  • My Aunt Viola, 1996
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • California, United States
  • H: 60 in, W: 40 in, D: 1 1/2 in (H: 152.4 cm, W: 101.6 cm, D: 3.8 cm)
  • Gift of James and Margie Krebs, 2008
  • E303666
  • Lowry tells family and cultural stories through her large-scale, colorful canvases
  • Her aunt is wearing a Plains-style headdress and Southwestern-style textile

Judith Lowry based this painting on a favorite photograph of her Aunt Viola, taken at a California county fair in the 1940s. Viola was one of many people in her California Native community to take a temporary job at the local fair dressing and parading around as "Indians." Their outfits fed the general public's expectations of how Indians should dress, as pictured in Hollywood Westerns. Lowry honors the beauty and character of her aunt in this depiction, while acknowledging personal and cultural histories.