Dropping into Creation, 2014<img alt="" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Pappan-Dropping-into-Creation.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Dropping into Creation, 2014<div class="ExternalClassC9442C2C181C4E7997B6D94993DEE8C5"><p>Adapted from an historical photographic portrait, the dignified Native American in Chris Pappan's <em>Dropping into Creation </em>is rendered natural-istically against a simple backdrop of glitter-enhanced red handprints on a black ground. Said to have been named Makes Them Cry (as translated into English), the man was a member of the Osage people, whose Mississippian ancestors built Cahokia, an ancient metropolis that survives in the Cahokia Mounds in southwestern Illinois. The figure's elongated legs refer to the Osage creation story, according to which people grew their legs long to step down out of the sky world and onto the earth. The exaggerated proportions of his feet accentuate the contrast between Makes Them Cry's traditional dress and his contemporary footwear. These are fashionable Vans, an iconic brand of skateboarding shoes Pappan has tinted to exactly match his subject's robe. The portrait itself is painted on the underside of a skateboard deck, predrilled for attaching a pair of "trucks," or wheel assemblies. In the lingo of skateboarding, "dropping in" is starting a run from the top of a ramp. Pappan, who claims membership in the Osage tribe and the closely related Kaw or Kansa nation as well as the Cheyenne River Sioux, titled his work to juxtapose his people's origins with contemporary life ways.</p><p>In his art, Pappan reworks historical imagery and materials such as ledgers and maps to critique the dominant culture's distorted, often reflexively racist perceptions of native peoples. With their playful but pointed interweaving of traditional and contemporary references, works such as <em>Dropping into Creation </em>also proclaim that "we are still here!," in the artist's words, and that Native American culture belongs to the living present as well as the historical past. The hand motif seen in the background of this painting is widespread in indigenous cultures: asserting present physical being, it stands as evidence of existence here and now. </p><p>Pappan grew up in Arizona and graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before moving to Chicago in 1993. He studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago and has established an international career. </p></div>GP0|#83c224b5-a21f-4d2c-991a-7430e0e7441c;L0|#083c224b5-a21f-4d2c-991a-7430e0e7441c|Chris Pappan;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#9d68cbd3-25f3-49f0-8924-6cbe6cdb2f21;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7Art;#TemporaryPainting;#Painting Acrylic;#Wood;#plywood skateboard deck;#Colorado Springs, ColoradoAcrylic and glitter on molded plywood skateboard deck with wire, 32 × 8 × 2 inches Collection of the artist