21-Roadkill Warrior: Last of His Tribe

Roadkill Warrior: Last of His Tribe, 2001. Judith Lowry (Hammawi Band Pit River/Mountain Maidu/Washo/Scottish-Irish/Australian), b. 1948. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of the artist, 2009 (26/7506).

The man’s pose recalls a famous historical photograph of Ishi, popularly known as the last Yahi or the “last wild Indian.” The sole surviving member of his Northern California tribe, he spent the final five years of his life in a museum, where he was studied until his death in 1916 of tuberculosis. Lowry has written that to California Indians, Ishi “represents both the shattering and the survival of our tribal heritages.” The painting is titled after the 1964 historical novel Ishi: Last of His Tribe.

The paintings of Judith Lowry (Hammawi Band Pit River/Mountain Maidu/Washo/Scottish-Irish/Australian, b. 1948) are typically large-scale narratives that spring from family stories, California Native oral traditions, and pop culture, and through them she addresses issues of cross-cultural exchange, stereotypes of all kinds, women’s roles in history, and the politics of religion.

Although she was interested in art as a child, Lowry did not attend college or became a working artist until she reached her 30s, after raising her family. Today she is among the most recognized Native artists, and is included in numerous exhibitions and collections. She lives in Nevada City, California.

Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection

The National Museum of the American Indian
NMAI on the National Mall | Washington, DC