Photography by Tom Jones, an assistant professor of photography at the University of Wisconsin.

Tom Jones,

Art spotlight: "Indian First"

  • Article by: MARY ABBE
  • Star Tribune
  • November 15, 2012 - 2:40 PM


Continuing: At first glance Tom Jones' photos look like big black flags punctuated with bright designs: three feathers, yellow cross-hatchings, red and white dots, blue and green birds sailing in a dark sky. Scrutinize the designs and you'll spy little imprinted words: "Made in China," or "BergenToy & Nov. Co., Inc." The colorful blobs and marks are the bottoms of toy Indians and canoes, and the cross-hatchings are tiny plastic fences that he has turned into huge graphic designs. An assistant professor of photography at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Jones plays clever games with scale, design and American Indian lore in 10 dramatic images. In 11 more photos, he documents American Indian imagery used to market the Wisconsin Dells as a vacation getaway. Although the Dells were the traditional home of his tribe, the Ho-Chunk Nation, no authentic trace of his people can be found in the eagle-feather headdresses of the Indians emblazoned on the area's motels and trinket shops. Jones' keen eye and graphic design skills enhance the visual punch of his photos and effectively amplify his critique of how Indian imagery has been appropriated for commercial gain. (11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. Ends Jan. 26. Free. All My Relations Gallery, 1414 E. Franklin Av., Mpls. 612-235-4970 or


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