LANCASTER – USC Lancaster’s 17th annual Native American Studies Celebration concludes on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. with an artist talk and Q&A session with Brent Learned, whose art can not only be seen in the end credits of Hulu’s “Prey” and in the video for Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” but also in the center’s newest exhibit, “Humor, Parody, and Satire II: Popular Culture and Native American Art.”
As lead artist for “Prey,” Learned was responsible for creating the artwork that the Comanche, the tribe featured in the film, would have created on rocks during the time period shown in the movie. Learned is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, relatives of the Comanche Nation.
“When Plains Indians depicted events on high, it was usually of a calendar or told a story of a great battle,” said Learned. “You’re dealing with sci-fi and the paranormal, so we had to come up with a design for how the Predator would have been seen through Indian eyes at the time.”
Creating the end credits in the style of ledger art, Learned drew each character in the movie and then sent the artwork to seven other artists to replicate and place into a storyboard.
“It’s the first time it’s ever been done, where you have Indian artists who all worked on a project like this that ended up being in a motion picture,” Learned said. “We’ve never had any ledger artwork to that extent.”
Learned also was selected to work with a Los Angeles-based production company to develop the official music video for Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love.” He says that until now, the only YouTube results for the song came from a performance the band did on “The Midnight Special” variety show in the early 1970s.
“The Marvel movie ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ introduced the song to whole new generation of music enthusiasts,” Learned said. “They really wanted to have an American Indian touch on this video since it is an American Indian band. I came up with storyline of a guy who is trying to find his one true love and he hears a beat that only he can only hear; it’s a woman on another planet sending him this beat.”
Though it’s his paintings on exhibit at the Center, Learned has worked in different media including printmaking, sculpture, watercolors, drawings, and pen and ink. In his talk, Learned will discuss his perspective as an American Indian and his satirical subject matter that he says covers political and historical events.
“What I’d really like for people to take away is that here’s a guy from Oklahoma who is depicting his tribe, telling stories and giving a voice to his ancestors, because my ancestors really didn’t have much of a voice at the time they lived,” Learned said. “They were moved from being on the plains to being put on a reservation and having their cultural slowly taken away from them during Manifest Destiny. It’s to let people know we’re still here, we’re still out here telling our stories and wanting to share our culture because that’s the Indian way.”
“Humor, Parody, and Satire: Popular Culture and Native American Art” is on display at the Native American Studies Center through March 4, 2023.
More information about Learned’s talk and other events held in conjunction with the 17th annual Native American Studies Celebration are available via the Center’s website at www.sc.edu/Lancaster/NAS.