When I was little, my parents immersed me in Native American culture. We went to go see museums on their history, watch the pow-wows when they happened, and visited some Native American territories on our way to national parks like Antelope Canyon. I’ve always admired Native American culture and their history, and I have even tried to learn how to make baskets like they made in the past. Therefore, Joe Allen’s exhibition, Tule Duck Decoy Maker, did bring back that love for the culture in my mind.
The exhibition itself was not big, and it basically showed the same thing no matter where you looked. Duck decoys made of tule were all that were seen in the exhibition just like the title straightforwardly stated. The only difference were the years the decoys had been made as some were made in 1993 while others were made this year. To most, I’m sure this exhibition must have been plain and pretty boring. However, this exhibition reminded me of the beautiful things Native Americans were known to make. It also served as a testament of how much time was needed to make something as simple yet useful as a duck decoy. The decoys were simple in shape and design, but I could see the practicality in it as well as the beauty of knowing how much effort was placed into making it. I also liked the differences between the newer and more aged duck decoys. There were not that many differences, but the older duck decoys were smaller and had signs of aging through the darker looks and spots on them. It went to show the artist’s improvement in his years of making, remaking, and improving his duck decoy models.
I really did enjoy this exhibit more than I thought I would. There was nothing eye-catching to the normal viewer, but it was beautiful in the way it showed progress and gave a big homage to a culture that’s sadly underrated but wonderful and unique in its own right.