Leveling The Playing Field

Shan Goshorn
9” X 9” X 3.5”
Arches Watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, gold foil

Inspired by research via my Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the National Museum of the American Indian where I saw a photograph of a Cherokee gambling basket being used as well as historical Cherokee gambling baskets and dice in the collections, this piece is a contemporary comment on Indian casinos and the Gaming Industry. It is woven out of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which governs the tribes’ ability to operate gaming establishments on Indian land. The paper splints have a metallic gold and opalescent wash applied to them acknowledging the tremendous exchange of money as a result of casinos. Woven into the interior of the basket is aforementioned photo of Cherokee gamblers; the exterior bottom features a photograph of Cherokee gaming pieces (dice) carved out of wood. It has been titled “Leveling The Playing Field”, referring to the way this unprecedented income has changed life for Indian people across the country. No longer are tribes inconsequential ‘wards of the government’ but rather powerful entities with bargaining power.

Private Collection