“Indigenous Reflections” pays the Plattsburgh Strand Center for The Arts a visit for the month of February to showcase the work of painter David Kanietakeron Fadden.
Fadden gained his artistic insight and technical skills from his parents, John and Elizabeth Eva Fadden. His father was an educator, illustrator and painter while his mother fancied sculpting and pottery. Fadden’s passion for creating images of Native Americans was nurtured by his grandfather Ray Fadden—author, designer and founder of the Six Nations Indian Museum located in his grandson’s hometown of Onchiota, New York.
David Fadden’s artwork has been showcased in Albany, New York, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Centre Strathearn in Montreal, Quebec, the Unison Arts & Learning Center in New Paltz, NY, the Cornwall Regional Art Gallery, the National Museum of American Indian and the Aboriginal Art Centre in Gatineau, Quebec. His work can also be found in various children’s books like Fulcrum Publishing’s Keepers of the Animals, Keepers of Night & Native American Animal Stories, Keepers of Life, and New England Press’s Cave of Falling Water.
Being an educator, David Fadden wanted to depict Native American people as more than just “noble savages” by painting their true emotions like laughter and happiness.
Gallery Director and SUNY Plattsburgh Adjunct Lecturer David Monette discovered David Fadden’s work three years ago during the Strand Center’s Native American show in which Davide Fadden was the artist. He contacted SUNY Plattsburgh for David Fadden’s information because the college was acquainted with native peoples around the area. Monette decided to bring David Fadden back to exhibit a solo show.
“He is so skilled at painting the human form,” Monette said. “There’s a certain cultural significance that comes along with his work.”
Monette said he appreciates David Fadden’s humanistic portrayal of Native Americans through his artwork. A painting of a Native American laughing instead of holding a continuous poker face crushes a common stereotype. David Fadden’s artistic style is another aspect of his work that pleases Monette among many others. David Fadden paints his subject’s values and will use the cells inside as another canvas. One can see another image when closely looking at David Fadden’s work.
“You can really appreciate the amount of time out into the artwork,” Monette said.
The exhibit, meant to be opened Feb.7, was postponed until Valentine’s Day because of the blizzard last Friday. Operations Coordinator Kayla Wood said “Indigenous Reflections” attracted 80 people to opening night—some of which making an hour-and-a-half drive from Vermont. She noted a few women possessing Native American heritage, generally younger than the average guests, visit the exhibit.
Wood said she thinks all the paintings are gorgeous, but the “Raven Call ‘’ artwork by David Fadden is one of her favorites. “Raven Call” depicts a portrait of a Native American man surrounded by flocks of ravens. She and her husband have always been a fan of dark birds like crows and ravens.
“Indigenous Reflections” will be exhibited at the Strand Center until Feb. 28.