Now at pun(c)tuation (705A East Pike St., Seattle, WA), are sculptural works by Keith Murakata. The series is heavil centered around comic book character Captain America, who, according to Wikipedia, first appeared in Marvel Comics’ 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics as an “… intentionally patriotic creation who was often depicted fighting the Axis powers of World War II.” As Murakata takes this classic American image and turns it on its heel, viewers are encouraged to think twice about the current state of the country.
Here are some clips from Murakata’s artist statment:
“Keith Murakata flips the eagle and burns the banner of the strangled stars of this hegemonic, struggling thing called America. Through media sources, cast metals, ceramics, and wood, Murakata creates altered figurative sculptures that reexamine the historical toll these icons symbolize (and enact) upon the American people’s psyche, and their surprising international reach. Each piece blends history with present realities, the factual with the spiritual, and deep, indigenous truths with contemporary compromises.”
“Captain America—concocted to rally military action during WWII—was originally a blue-eyed,
blond-haired soldier wrapped in an American flag. In this exhibit, the Captain, now in bronze, takes on
a haunting, spectral form. The afro-pick was spawned in the turbulent 60s, when American black nationalists and militants deployed black rage and black power while garnering titles such as “the most dangerous group in America”. In Raw Deal, Murakata uses the remnants of a demolished house near the Duwamish River and texts from the time of the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty to explore and expose the betrayal of the First Nations’ land and fishing rights.
These icons have grown far beyond the narrow scope of their intended utility to embody either a polar opposite or a canonized version of their original spirit. Murakata’s work carries us beyond the original and implicit assumptions of these images, allowing a communion with and an illumination of the spirits within.”