American Indian artist Brian Larney uses a mix of art, activism to chronicle Indigenous history

American Indian artist Brian Larney uses a mix of art, activism to chronicle Indigenous history

Brian Larney is an AI.tivist or American Indian artist. He is also an Artist where he performs Artivism, a concept that includes art as a form of activism.

Larney uses his unique artistry to tell the stories of American Indian peoples and to advocate for indigenous and land rights. His art reflects his tribal heritage and cultural traditions. Larney aims to raise awareness about the experiences and struggles of indigenous people and to promote social justice.

“My work is more through the lens of cultural wealth. And from my perspective it’s always cultural preservation. It’s always heirlooms, it’s always historical facts. It’s always connected to historical threads through genocide. But it’s always made sure that we we have our identity that I can respect and give thanks to our ancestors, but also shed light on our future.”

Larney often incorporates traditional motifs and symbols, as well as contemporary themes related to indigenous issues using a variety of media to create works that are visually striking and thought provoking.

His art often addresses themes of cultural resilience and resistance, as well as the impact of colonialism and environmental degradation on the indigenous communities of Texas and throughout the South.

Reflecting on his background as a Dallas-born American Indian, in what he calls “concrete jungles,” he said. “You have to look at what the city of Dallas hasn’t done, which is your responsibility as an American Indian and you have to use your tools as an artist, but also develop yourself as an activist.”

In addition to creating art, Larney is also involved in community organizing and works to advance the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples and their representation.

Larney explains that artists only want to paint for the sake of expression. “But for us is that you always turn the pages, turn the pages and make sure you become activists because you wish that many things were … for diversity, equality and equity. But it’s not because there are many. of firsts that still take place.”

Man in camel peacoat and native printed multicolored fleece scarf standing next to seated woman in black jacket.

Brian is joined by his mother, Peggy Larney. He is an Artist where he performs Artivism, a concept that includes art as a form of activism.

He is the chairman of American Indian Heritage Day in Texas which promotes recognition of the historical, cultural and social contributions American Indian communities and leaders have made to Texas.

Along with his mother, Peggy Larney, he made strides to eliminate the use of American Indians as mascots in Dallas. Together, they were also instrumental in the creation of Indigenous People’s Day in the city of Dallas.

While Larney’s work has worked with said organizations to advocate for indigenous rights and environmental protection, he does not subscribe to “traditional” activism tactics to call for change.

“I think that’s the part where we learned or I learned how to fight. I don’t need a protest if I was going to talk in a room and talk and change that 1%. [their] perspective.”

Larney is also on the chair of I CARE (Indian Citizens Against Racial Exploitation). The organization seeks to eradicate the misrepresentation and perpetuation of negative stereotypes of American Indians.

The Duality of AI – American Indians and Artificial Intelligence

The increased use of artificial intelligence in art with platforms such as Dall-E and Lensa has drawn criticism from artists who claim that these digital platforms undermine the value of human creativity and artistry.

These technologies, often developed and controlled by non-Native people, can reinforce prejudices and stereotypes about American Indians and various indigenous communities.

Indigenous peoples, like other groups, have long been marginalized and underrepresented in mainstream media and are at risk of being further marginalized and exploited by the increasing reliance on artificial intelligence and online algorithms, linguist and tereo Māori specialist Dr. Hēmi Whaanga said in an explanation. set.

According to Larney, “All that part is an algorithm pushing what you want to see or what the perspective of what history is. Is the perception of what you want? Or is the perception of what the algorithm pushed? Or is it perception of what the creators see you, not what you are?”

American Indians are often underrepresented in these data sets, and this can lead to inaccurate or incomplete representations of their cultures, languages, and traditions.

“Because when you start digging into AI, with American Indians, you can have a Western with the headdress. And if you know your history, there were no American Indian headdresses in the Southwest,” Larney said.

“Do you grab AI from Hollywood? Do you grab the history books? Do you grab from someone’s blank space of a scrap? They’re like, ‘Oh, let’s just throw it in and see what happens.’ Because algorithms can be wrong.”

Larney’s current exhibition is on view through January 8, 2023 at the AT&T Discovery District.

The exhibit also includes an augmented reality experience by Texas artist Eric Wagliardo and interdisciplinary First Nations artist Casey Koyczan.

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