Wohaw, Kiowa

"Kiowa Portraits" (1877)
pencil and crayon 8.75 x 11.25 in

Before he was imprisoned, and certainly while at Fort Marion, Wohaw would have seen many photographs. Many photos were taken of the Fort Marion prisoners, and he incorporated the format of the photograph into certain of his drawings. In this particular drawing there are three framed portraits. Most unphotographic, at least in composition, is the inclusion of the lone tree between the 2nd and 3rd framed images, and the riding warrior, suspended in his own space. Wohaw shows a propensity to use a combination of divergent visual modes as a way to juxtapose or deepen meanings. Assumptions are put into question. The tree and warrior are rendered as a trace of what could not be contained or circumscribed by the dominant and expanding culture of the white West.