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Tone Deaf by Julie Buffalohead

Tone Deaf by Julie Buffalohead

Highpoint Editions (IFPDA)



Edition Size: 15

Image Size: 34 ⅝ x 61 ½ inches

Sheet Size: 34 ⅝ x 61 ½ inches


Condition: Pristine

Details — Click to read

Artist’s statement

This piece stems from recent events, specifically the Covid pandemic and the politicization of the epidemic. The two coyote figures exist in a suspended space in which they are mirroring each other, sentient and vulnerable. They are representative of groups that are polarized in the United States, who are validating their own world views inside a narrow vacuum.

One coyote holds up a mask that states “help” – a symbol of the disproportionate numbers of American Indian people dying from Covid. The opposing coyote is blanketed by small American flags and holds a sign with the title “Tone Deaf,” another associated semaphore. 

These figures are very similar, like a mirror image. This speaks to the polarization of American political views. The piece specifically addresses the politicization of mask wearing and the phenomenon that exists within American patriotism and various demographics who refute masks. What are the consequences of that? 

I was interested in exploring this lack of conscientiousness toward other people who are at risk. Framing this into my own context and setting up a drama of flag-like proportions I again reference the cartoon antics of the Wile E. Coyote of the Looney Tunes to literally hold up a sign provoking conscious action. The pandemic has demonstrated that no one is immune; we are interconnected.



The Artist

Julie Buffalohead

Julie Buffalohead (b. 1972) enrolled Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, is a visual artist living and working in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and her MFA from Cornell University in 2001.

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