Students sketch portrayals of 19th century Native American history

Robert Schiffhauer

Students in a fall 2014 figure drawing class led by Robert Schiffhauer, associate professor of architecture, created sketches from reenactments in a dark period of 19th century Native American life.

The reenactments are from a play-in-progress by Susan Gordone, wife of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Texas A&M professor Charles Gordone, about an archivist preparing a museum exhibit explaining the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

The play’s scenes include portrayals of the ghost dance, part of a Native American spiritual movement, popular at the time of the massacre, that promised the creation of a new world devoid of nonbelievers.

Other scenes in the play are homages to Edward Curtis, who documented Native American life in more than 40,000 photographs, 10,000 wax cylinder recordings and biographies of tribal leaders.

The project is the latest in a series of Schiffhauer and Gordone collaborations.

During the spring 2014 semester, students sketched scenes from a play Gordone is writing about gauchos, Argentine cowboys who in the 19th century helped create the tango.

posted November 11, 2014