– Juanita Pahdopony –
Juanita Pahdopony – Native American Artist – : “Comanche Education”
Mixed-media with collage, oil pastel, acrylics, and pencil, size: 18 x 24 feet, or 53 cm x 36, 6 cm.
This is an art work by Juanita Pahdopony, an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation.
I, Renate Hugel, would like to put my interpretation under the following statement which had elected Juanita Pahdopony once, too, as a basic principle to her work of art „Comanche Education“ and which points to today’s scientific knowledge:
“Already in the womb, the fetus hears his mother tongue”.
I start with the statement of Juanita Pahdopony (JuPa) for her work of art “Comanche Education” which she had given me in writing in 2015 while we had already verbally heard it in the year 2001:
“This is a Mixed-Media art work by Juanita Pahdopony, an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation. It was traded to German artist Heinz Hugel. The title is, “Comanche Education”, and represents wistful thinking of what might have happened if the Comanche and other tribal nations had control of our own education. After all, the impact of boarding schools and the history of displacement dealt a devastating blow on tribal language, culture, and history of Indigenous Nations.”… (On the whole Juanita Pahdopony)
The work of art “Comanche Education” lets the observer look at a blackboard: The black of the blackboard-color associates – together with the typically white of the panel-chalk – the situation “school”. This will arouse memories of one’s own spontaneously of “school” at the very first look. Furthermore, the awkwardly drawn lines, the printed letters of the words (written consciously precisely), like also the wipe-traces indicated in some places, seem emphasizing the scene…
But what do the words written here mean? …
The realistic representation of the blackboard-scene – almost unreal – is opposite to the fantastic picture-creations on the upper picture edge as well as on the approximately lower half of the picture-surface. This hard contrast seems to dip the picture parts just mentioned into a dream atmosphere…
The upper picture edge is determined by an area in gray colors. The gray somehow seems to have got into movement.
It has to be assumed that the original gray is monotonous and therefore reflects the dreary weekday of the American natives after they had been forced to give up their language, their traditions and their culture.
In the “dream time” shown here the dullness of this gray is drifting away to the background and gets brightened by poetic appearing gray-graduations which make the gray seem ice-blueish or gray-whitey, for example. The clear line traces are spirals which seem to shift on the time and such are leading back into the past mentioned above…
Arrived there in this past, this blackboard slides itself into the dream-consciousness so that it seems concrete and real. A reality which exists only in the dream: There are to be seen words of the Comanche language on the chalk lines which we can read but not understand. The languages of the American natives have been largely lost. Nowadays, engaged natives “reconstruct” these languages – as far as just possible. Juanita Pahdopony who also deals with the language of her ancestors could give me the translation of the words (written down here by her) to me:
Sari = Dog
Kahoo = Cat
Ko Ko Kahni = Chicken coop or chicken house
Numu Kutsu = Comanche Cow or Buffalo
The represented “blackboard scene” seems very real as I had already mentioned above and this, although it is a dream vision. In fact, the day-consciousness actually steps down while sleeping and dreaming. The dream event seems real to it for the time at which we are in the dream event. Exactly this is that what JuPa says with her way of painting.
On the lower half of her picture or the blackboard, JuPa has painted this, what she would have wanted for the children of her ancestors: Part of this is the school building, a modest house, which can be seen next to the left side of a T-shirt, both on the right side of this lower area. Trousers and shirts also can be recognized because JuPa would have enjoyed having a school for the children of her ancestors where they can wear school clothes and where they would have been taught in their own language and culture!
Developing oneself and developing self-confidence, this would have wanted JuPa for the children of her ancestors!
Such, every child would have become a “star” with a radiant self-perception!
The represented stars show it clearly: An inner shining radiating to the outside can establish itself only in such a way. The personality of these young people would have been getting a healthy one! But it had been the sad reality to sink in the dull gray because their parents unfortunately had been not able to pass on to them something else (in their desolate situation)! On the visit of the boarding schools the children then had been separated from their parents. There, their thinking had grown into a thoughts- and speech-world, holding in it the feeling, behavior and thinking of completely different cultures – having been established over centuries, even millennia! At the same time, their own culture had been gone lost for the young people!
With this work of art, Juanita Pahdopony draws one’s attention to these inner processes! Therefore, her positive thoughts and longing wishes which she has expressed in her work of art “Comanche Education” are for her ancestors.… Interpretation: Renate Hugel
To the Person of Juanita Pahdopony (Native American Artist)
Juanita Pahdopony (Comanche)
Juanita Pahdopony: “… I am a life-long Comanche artist. My first memory involves looking at a famous German print of two young children crossing a rickety bridge under the protection of a beautiful angel. Surely, it was a grand beginning for things to come.
In 1990, I graduated with a M.Ed. in gifted and talented education with an emphasis on American Indian/Alaskan Native populations and my minor was Art Therapy. Later in my life, I was a faculty, then the Dean of Academic Affairs, and after my retirement, I served as an ‘interim’ President of Comanche Nation College…” Juanita Pahdopony
The text above is a part of the text on HOME (of January 1st, 2016) of Juanita Pahdopony where she had written to her own person in order to introduce herself as a co. author under “Oklahoma Art Updates by Juanita Pahdopony”. Renate Hugel
Remark 1: Current stand: I have written the contribution “Art Touches Art – 36” to Juanita Pahdopony under “Art Touches Art”.
Remark 2: The contributions under “Art Touches Art” refer in part 1 (“Art Touches Art – 1 to 28”) to the symposium “Attempt of an Encounter – Five Native American Artists meet five European Artists”. This had taken place in Bremen (Germany), in the year 2000. Whoever would like to ask about the genesis of the symposium can scroll back till „Art Touches Art – 1“, then continue scrolling back till Information about ‚Art Touches Art‘; after that you find then the „Chronology of the Past History“.
In part 2 (as of „Art Touches Art – 29“) the contributions refer to the return visit in Oklahoma (USA) in the year 2001. Renate Hugel