CUE Art Foundation is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Wendy Red Star, curated by Michelle Grabner. Titled Um-basax-bilua “Where They Make The Noise,” the exhibition features manipulated photographs, cultural artifacts, and video footage capturing the Crow Nation’s annual Crow Fair, held since 1904. The exhibition examines the cultural shift away from colonial modes of forced assimilation, documenting a government-sponsored county fair that has been re-appropriated as a vehicle for the revitalization of Apsáalooke (Crow) cultural ways.
Every morning during an annual weeklong celebration, members of the Apsáalooke gather along the Little Bighorn River in Montana in a parade that expresses the deep-rooted cultural tradition of movement in Apsáalooke society. Families don traditional dress and display their horses during rituals that recall the migration from summer to winter camps. These parades pass on traditions from horse culture to car culture, from buffalo days to reservation life—weaving each generation into the fabric of a living, resilient tribal Nation.
Red Star’s exhibition features found photographs and family snapshots arranged as a historical to present-day timeline of Crow Fair over the decades. She manipulates these images to isolate intimate moments, removing backgrounds to focus clearly on the subjects, the detail of their outfits, facial expressions, horses, and parade cars. Accompanying these photographs, Red Star has arranged parade regalia—shawls, beadwork, elk tooth dresses, and blankets—handmade by her relatives and other Crow tribe members. Once draped on horses, cars, or the arms of Apsáalooke women and girls, each shawl shows signs of wear from many journeys around the camp. Sweat stains from horses and grass stains from playful children offer insights into the utilitarian beauty of these objects. Video footage of the Crow Fair shot by tourists and Apsáalooke from the 1970s to 2016 captures the sounds of horse hooves hitting pavement, gossiping parade goers, and the rhythmic jingle of bells as Crow men dance.
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