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Aspen Art Museum


Dara Friedman: Mother Drum

Dec 15, 2017-May 13, 2018

Dara Friedman’s three-channel video installation Mother Drum (2016), projected onto a single long wall in Gallery 5, is a continuous loop interweaving individual dancers, groups of drummers, animals, and vibrant monochromatic blocks of color.

The film began when Friedman placed an advertisement on, asking Native American Fancy Dancers and drummers to participate in a new project. She then traveled to powwows in the West to meet with those who replied, and her film Mother Drum (2016) is a result of those meetings. Filmed during the summer of 2015 at the Swinomish Reservation in Washington, Coeur d'Alene Reservation in Idaho, and Crow Agency Reservation in Montana, Mother Drum shows women dancing the jingle dress dance, a dance of healing.

The performing body and movement have long been important to the German-born, Miami-based artist, who has described “the dusty and undeniable metaphysics of the drum” as “embody[ing] the Earth’s heartbeat; the beats vibrate a person’s bones until they are both with and beyond themselves.” Void of any narrative, the pulsing experience of her three-channel video projection reveals the power of dance and music within communal, ritualistic acts.

AAM exhibitions are made possible by the Marx Exhibition Fund. General exhibition support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Visiting Artist Fund.