Image/Data/Interview – SD

“Standing Rock 2016” is a piece by professional painter Jim Denomie. The painting directly depicts my site the Keystone Pipeline. This painting shows the feelings of the indegenious groups on their fight to stop the continuation of pipeline. Specifically the lack of white protestors and the absence of cameras depicts the lack of importance social media played in the protests. Denomie’s heritage is Anishinaabe, a Native Amercian tribe who inhabit the area surrounding the Great Lakes and west of it (Minnesota, North Dakota). This painting gives me Jim Denomie an indeginous person affected by the oil pipeline’s artistic inturtation of the protest surrounding the pipeline.

The most prevalent aspect of the painting “Standing Rock 2016” is the depiction of people in the painting. The race depiction of each individual in the painting is a telling sign of what the native view thought of people protesting the pipeline. From first glance the largest and most numerous amount of people protesting are native americans. White people are either part of the government depicted various acts of abuse. Most prominent is President Trump violating and attempting to grab at the groin of a noticeably native amercian depiction of Astraea (Greek god of Justice). There are white people on the side of the native americans supporting in the protest, however they are small and on the sideline. From these details the assumption can be made that this movement against the pipeline is focused on Native Amercians and their involvement. This painting is shows indengious people are focus on the pipeline as their fight and while support is appreciated it is their fight.

The next aspect is the lack of cameras and phones in “Standing Rock 2016”. No character on the side of the native americans has a phone or camera. Social media is out of sight and out of mind for the Native Americans. Indegenious people are focused on the protest displayed by the group standing off against the government and the group that are enjoying their lives by focusing on the chicken clucking. Social media is not apart of the equation for protesting and enjoying life. The only representation of media is a news van located in the middle between the bulldozers and the three helicopters flying in the air. These vehicles are all focused on the protest as seen by the spirit bird shooting out of the antenna on the van. With the focus of the media on the protest they completely miss all the native communities that have come together and set up right next to them. The media is not viewed as an ally and is missing the point of the protest.

The colors that are used for the sky and earth make it polluted. Both lighter  and darker colors are used to show a polluted environment. The sky has shade of green that makes it look polluted with smog. The river that separates the two factions is lighter red, brown, and green which signifies oil is getting into the water. The color of the water is the same color and texture that oil when it mixes water. Light colored and potentially mutated animals arise out of the river to engage with the ancient greek monsters and jackals that are on the side of the United States government. These indicators clearly illustrate that Jim Denomie does not think the Earth or the United States is in a healthy place.

“Standing Rock 2016” was fundamental for me in understanding the indigenous perspective. As a space the pipeline is something that should not exist in their eye as it is an environmental disaster.  The indigenous groups are united in protesting this as explained by the massive amount of indigenous groups who showed up to protest at Standing Rock and across the pipeline. The most vital part about this painting to my argument is the lack of social media. From this painting social media and mass media were not important in the eyes of the indigenous in spreading their message of the pipeline. From this painting Social Media was not at the forefront of the indigenous people mind before or during the protests.

Tags: Oil, Erasure, Indigenous, Protest, Media