Close Button

Indigenous Arts & Stories - Jimmy Pipe o' Peace

Jimmy Pipe o' Peace

2014 - Art Winner

Cheyenne Scott

Toronto, ON
Age 22

Author's Statement

I originally began this project as a way of taking back my body. I had become self-conscious after growing up being called “Big Time” for my noticeably larger chest and constantly being scrutinized by not only strangers on the street but by my own colleagues who took an odd amount of interest in my physique. Then I began to look at racist and sexist stereotypes that deny the dignity and worth of Indigenous women. About 75% of Aboriginal girls under 18 have been sexually abused. I saw this self-portrait as an opportunity to really face my fears and take ownership and joy in my body and sexuality. The recent events of the Victoria Secret headdress scandal and various other cultural appropriations in media have been criticized for sexualizing indigenous people. After researching various pin ups from the 1950s, I began to notice a theme of young women dressed in tribal wear with feathers that were usually smoking an interpretation of a peace pipe. I wanted to create a gimmick on these old smoke ads that advertised being “Indian Approved” while selling the image of a sexy but chaste young woman. My project comments on the inappropriateness of sexualizing indigenous women to sell a product and how this strategy has been used not only today but also by the 1950’s smoke ads. My project also looks to encourage women to take pride in their bodies and sexuality while giving the finger to the media who encourages exploitation and violent acts. Though I felt empowered by claiming ownership of my body, the entirety of my self-portrait has become quite controversial for the audience.