Christopher Olszewski

No Place for the Weak

2013 Exhibit Dates
Sep 06 To Oct 06

As part of his research into multicultural identity and the positioning of Native American artists in a contemporary context, Olszewski retraced the Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma. The 2,350-mile trek was a vision quest for him as an artist, educator and Native American. He visited battlefields, first settlements, treaty signings, borderlines and religious sites, exploring the contemporary wilderness to record, retrieve and listen to the whispers of the past. The trip also served as a means of transitioning his theories about cultural identity into a tangible body of two-dimensional work. As an active member of the Chippewas of Rama Mnjikaning First Nation, Olszewski's visual research has focused on the contemporary images of Native Americans. Everything from "Geronimo" as the CIA's code-name for Osama Bin Laden, to cigar store decorations and logos for professional sports teams, forms the basis of his work. The No Place for the Weak project helped humanize Native Americans beyond the corporate logos, cigar stores and souvenir shops. Olszewski earned a BFA in painting and drawing from Wayne State University, and an MFA in painting and sculpture from the University of Kentucky. He is a professor of foundation studies at Savannah College of Art and Design.

Always Difficult 2013, mixed material on paper, 12" x 12"