David Bradley

1954 / Chippewa

"American Indians constitute the smallest segment of minorities or "People of color" in the United States. In the multi-cultural feeding frenzy surrounding the theme of 1992, American Indians face the danger of being swallowed-up and neutralized by the huge "people of color" movement whose wide agenda threatens to deny our unique voice and identity with the same nullifying effect as the dominant white culture."

"We artists are called upon to perform the "living-in-two-worlds" balancing act in the public arena more than most other Indians….We have an opportunity to promote Indian truths and at the same time help dispel the myths and stereotypes that are projected upon us".

Excerpts from David Bradley Statement “1992, the Year of the Political Indian

David Bradley, Santa Fe 1998
David Bradley

I do use repeatedly certain symbols which you could call popular cultural iconography like the “American Gothic”, “Mona Lisa”, “Whistlers Mother”… as archetypical images everyone can relate to. Then you take it from that point of the familiar into the new and unfamiliar and you involve it in humorous or more complicated situations. I juxtapose things and just fit all these symbols, archetypical things, clichés in amongst my own creations.”

Interview Dorothee Peiper-Riegraf with David Bradley , March 1989


David Bradley’s sculpture “Land O' Fakes” confronts fraud in the Indian art market and the “ commodification of Indian culture – the packaging of it in an attractive way to make money”, as the artist puts it. It is not clear, whether the Indian princess he depicts is a Native American or a white woman dressed in Indian clothing. The logo on the back of the sculpture reads “Land O' Bucks” and the top mimics the packaging for “Land O’Lakes” butter ( The company is based in Minnesota, and Mr. Bradley is a Minnesota Chippewa.)

In his paintings, Mr. Bradley interprets popular imagery in a native context.

Joshua Brockman , from “A New Dawn for Museums of Native American Art” New York Times, 2005

David Bradley self portrait in “Bridges and Boundaries – The American Indian Art Ambassadors “ 1989