MOTHER AND CHILD 383
Andy Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians series is a fascinating amalgamation of imagery that Warhol felt was heavily associated with and defined the American West. The series included images of objects related to native culture, like Northwest Mask and Kachina Doll. The series also included portraits of historical notoriety, like Geronimo and Annie Oakley. Mother and Child depicts an Indian woman carrying her young son on her back. These images have been removed from their original context and reproduced here to show the public what we as a society have come to associate with our understanding of The American West.
MOTHER AND CHILD 383 AS PART OF ANDY WARHOL’S LARGER BODY OF WORK
Rather than portraying Native Americans within their historical landscape, or Cowboys in their veritable forms, Warhol chose to portray a popular, romanticized version of the American West. The West that he chose to represent is familiar to everyone and can be seen in novels, films, TV series. Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians suite is an ahistorical representation that mirrors a popular interpretation of the American West. In carefully selecting images that instinctively resonate with viewers, Andy’s Cowboys and Indians becomes a commentary on the immense impact of mass media and the power of image. Interest in image as it relates to reality is emphasized in this series through the legends and intrigue of the American West. The ways in which carefully contrived imagery can influence how society understands their own history and environment was particularly influential to Warhol and his works throughout his career.