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Native American Culture is Subject of Artist’s Work

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NEW PALTZ -- Fulbright scholar and master printer Lynne Allen will give a lecture about her creative work, which is concerned with art and social issues surrounding Native American culture, on November 5th at the State University of New York in New Paltz. shall we do-10-03.htmlAllen combines diverse materials and techniques to create objects, artists' books and two-dimensional works utilizing text, printmaking, sculpture and installation as an approach to communicate her experience with issues of identity as well as injustice towards those who are marginalized in society, specifically the Native American. The text utilized in her work is delivered from historical writings, both white and Native American, dating from the conflicts of the 1880's. She believes that employing the actual words of survivors is key to understanding the resulting loss of a culture.

Allen's personal history plays a major role in the development of her work. Like her mother, Lynne Allen's grandmother was sent from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota to the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania when she was eight years old. The government plan was to re-educate and to assimilate Native Americans into white society. The decimation of a people, combined with forced resettlement and the introduction of other religions, were meant to realign cultural heritage. Her grandmother lost her culture and her native Sioux way of life. She was successfully assimilated and appeared, on the outside, to be part of white society. Allen's mother was call a "half-breed" by both Native Americans and whites and psychologically remained an outsider for most of her life.

According to Allen, "Identity-personal, cultural, social, sexual, and racial-is one of the most vexing critical issues of our time. The mythical notion that there is a single identity discoverable 'within' a particular individual or group has been replaced in recent years by the growing understanding that identities are the product of how we are represented to ourselves and to others. By asserting that our own experience is the norm, by exoticizing, and/or marginalizing the experience of those of other cultures, races, ages, genders, or belief systems, we emphasize cultural differences. Identity becomes a mutable 'fabrication' rather than a stable truth."

Allen's work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art Library, and the New York Public Library, New York; the Library of Congress and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. among others.

Her work has been selected for over 100 exhibitions nationally and internationally including The Brooklyn Museum of Art's Digital: Printmaking Now, Print National, the Boston Printmakers, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Portland Art Museum, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Allen's honors include a Fulbright Scholarship to Moscow and a finalist to New Zealand, two Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Grants, a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, and a Pew Fellowship finalist.

Lynne Allen's presentation, sponsored by the Student Art Alliance, will be held on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 102. It is free and open to all. For further information call 845-257-3872.

Images to accompany this release are available online at shall we do-10-03.html