Kill the Indian, Save the Man 


This visual essay reflects on the forced assimilation of Native Americans and the dramatic changes to their traditional way of life. It is based on found archive photographs sourced from digitised public collections. 
Among other things, these images depict life at Native American Boarding Schools. These schools were intended to wipe out the native culture, and create a generation that would be more willing to cooperate and sign their land away to the government. They were extremely regimented, verging on militant. The first boarding schools were proudly heralded in 1887 with the slogan "Kill the Indian, Save the man". By 1900 there were almost 150 boarding schools across the United States.
This work is part of a continued exploration of the nature of history. It seeks to explore the process of drawing as a metaphor for the distortion of memory and the biased nature of history. Each image has been drawn several times, responding to the previous drawing. Each version is an improvement but also a further distortion of the last drawing, and each moves further away from the original source. In the final drawings, the emphasis shifts from the original historical source onto a new, visual, retelling.
The final drawings are intended to be seen in two formats: as a limited-edition book that collates the entire visual essay, and as cutout objects, lifted off the page and installed in a space.

Copies of the book can be purchased here.

German-English Illustrator and Artist based in Brighton, UK

My work explores how illustration can be used as an active tool for understanding, interpreting and re-evaluating dominant narratives and discourse about historical events. How can illustration add to our understanding of history, how can it challenge it?

I am interested in exploring and highlighting the ways in which history is recorded, suppressed, remembered and distorted. I have become particularly interested in how meaning and underlying power structures contained within archival records can be interpreted through the act of drawing. Often working with archival artefacts and personal testimony, I create narrative sequences and visual essays that explore my own relationship to history.