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James Earl Fraser's The end of the trail : affect and the persistence of an iconic Indian image


James Earl Fraser's The end of the trail : affect and the persistence of an iconic Indian image

Butler, Wendy L (2010) James Earl Fraser's The end of the trail : affect and the persistence of an iconic Indian image. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
MR70984.pdf - Accepted Version


This thesis considers why James Earl Fraser's equestrian sculpture, The End of the Trail , has endured and become iconic within North American popular culture. It argues that the persistence of Fraser's image of the vanishing race has primarily resulted from its affective resonance, for the image has the capacity to evoke emotion in especially strong ways. The thesis explores the original sculpture and its afterimage within three distinct historical contexts in order to demonstrate the work's affective power at different moments in time. These historical contexts including the work's exhibition at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, the period of endless appropriation and reuse by souvenir industries, which extends to the current day, and the contemporary context of Native American artistic re-appropriation and critique. The emotional concepts of sympathy and pity inform the first section's historical discussion of James Earl Fraser and the work's exhibition at the world fair in 1915; the notions of sentimentality and historical distance are used to analyze the kitsch aesthetic in relation to "End of the Trail' souvenir objects in the second section. The final section examines how the contemporary Aboriginal artists James Luna, Terrance Houle, and Kent Monkman have all critiqued and re-conceptualized Fraser's The End of the Trail within their own artistic re-interpretations. This section considers how strategies of postmodern parody, reenactment, and historical revisionism have enabled these contemporary Aboriginal artists to re-appropriate this iconic Indian image for their own intents and purposes.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Butler, Wendy L
Journal or Publication:End of the trail.
Pagination:vii, 69 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Thesis Supervisor(s):Huneault, Kristina
ID Code:979423
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 17:59
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49
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