Trade Canoe: Forty Days and Forty Nights is part of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith's well-known Trade Canoe series, which she began in 1992 as a critical response to quincentennial celebrations of Columbus's arrival to the "New World." In her Trade Canoes and other large-scale paintings, Smith often layers images, paint, text, and objects to convey entangled webs of history, colonization, and extraction that characterize the American experience. Within Forty Days and Forty Nights, Smith draws on imagery from the Christian Bible, Salish creation stories and homelands, art historical references, and pop culture. She creates a cacophonous visual narrative, signaling a possible future of mass flooding as a result of global climate change and rising sea levels. Through this painting and The Rancher, also on view in the exhibition, Smith invites audiences to engage in a complex dialogue and to reconsider the visual landscapes that shape our understandings of Native Americans.
Jami C. Powell