Miniature canoes, houses and totems, and human figurines have been produced on the Northwest Coast since at least the sixteenth century. What has motivated Indigenous artists to produce these tiny artworks? Are they curios, toys, art, or something else?
So Much More Than Art is a highly original exploration of this intricate cultural pursuit. Through case studies and conversations with contemporary Indigenous artists, Jack Davy uncovers the ways in which miniatures have functioned as crucial components of satirical opposition to colonial government, preservation of traditional techniques, and political and legal negotiation.
This nuanced study of a hitherto misunderstood practice demonstrates the importance of miniaturization as a technique for communicating complex cultural ideas between generations and communities, and across the divide that separates Indigenous and settler societies. Most of all, So Much More Than Art is a testament to the cultural resilience of the Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast.
1 Practice and Play: The Makah
2 The Haida String: Northern Peoples
3 Tiny Dancers and Idiot Sticks: The Kwakwaka’wakw
4 Small Foundations: Tulalip Tribes
5 An Elemental Theory of Miniaturization
6 Analysis of Technique and Status
7 Miniature Realities
Notes; References; Index
Jack Davy is head curator at the Morley Gallery, London, UK. He is a co-editor, with Charlotte Dixon, of Worlds in Miniature: Contemplating Miniaturisation in Global Material Culture, and has published in Anthropology Today, Journal of Material Culture, International Journal of Heritage Studies, and American Indian Culture and Research Journal. He has worked for the British Museum, the Horniman Museum, and the Beyond the Spectacle project at the University of East Anglia.
Davy establishes the miniature as a significant social actor on the Northwest Coast.
~Emily L. Moore, Colorado State University, BC Studies
Davy argues that miniature carving can be understood as a form of resistance in the face of 'aggressive colonization ... ' Students and scholars of anthropology and museology will find this volume eye-opening.
~L. De Danaan, CHOICE Connect