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Wendy Red Star: Stirs Up the Dust

Wendy Red Star is known for photographing herself within elaborately constructed scenes, engaging the viewer directly and foregrounding her presence within narratives of her own design. In Stirs Up the Dust, from a series of celestial couture garments titled Thunder Up Above, Red Star reimagines the regalia associated with powwow, a circular dance celebration found throughout Indigenous Plains cultures including Red Star’s Crow Nation, in futuristic terms.  

A powerful form of self-expression, powwow regalia has itself been morphing over time, from buckskin, beadwork, and feathers to embrace satin, lamé, and sequins. In Stirs Up the Dust, Red Star brings a feminist lens (women have only been allowed to dance in powwow circles since 1953) to this iconic look, using candy-colored streamers, an elaborate bustle, and a conceptual headpiece reminiscent of the outlandish headgear seen on high fashion runways. Performed within a Martian landscape, Red Star’s regalia projects the wearer into the future, bringing her high-style, cosmic powwow to outer space and worlds beyond.