Mother and Child is a screenprint from the series Cowboys and Indians. In this series Warhol explores the Old West as an All-American collective history. Pursuing his fascination of appearance over reality, Warhol’s work creates a commentary on mass media and the way in which contrived imagery can affect how we understand our history. Images of Geronimo, Annie Oakley and Mother and Child are based on characters in the Hollywood adaptation of our history and do not truly represent the roles that these real individuals historically played.
In carefully selecting images that instinctively resonate with viewers, Andy’s Cowboys and Indians becomes a commentary on the immense impact of mass media and the power of image. Interest in image as it relates to reality is emphasized in this series through the legends and intrigue of the American West. The ways in which carefully contrived imagery can influence how society understands their own history and environment was particularly influential to Warhol and his works throughout his career.