This landmark exhibition
brings together 26 Indigenous photographers from throughout the US,
Canada, Peru and New Zealand to explore the dynamic field of Indigenous
photography. All of the artists represented met together at UC Davis
in early April, where they discussed pertinent issues in creating their
artwork and shared their experiences with each other in group sessions,
as well as with the general public in formal artist panels. The result
is this important exhibition, featuring two works by each artist, that
demonstrates the longevity of Native peoples practicing photography.
The earliest pieces in the exhibition, are those of Cherokee photographer,
Jennie Ross Cobb from 1902 in Talequah, Oklahoma. She is the earliest-known
female Native American photographer, and her works raise critical distinctions
between those photographing their own communities from the inside,
with familiarity and respect; and other non-Natives photographing at
this time on behalf of the government, expansionism, or academic research.
At the same time, Benjamin A. Haldane,
a Tsimshian techie of his time, opened a professional portraiture studio
in the remote community of Metlakatla, Alaska. At a time when studio
portraiture was most-popular, BA Haldane (as he is familiarly known)
contributed widely to his community through a range of activities, but
most importantly by photographically documenting his customers and communities
in the way in which they wished to be imaged.
Their work continues to inspire and influence
the prominent artists working today. Seventeen professional artists have
contributed to form this exhibition. Their artworks reflect the diversity
of technologies, subject matter, vision, and style but resonate together
by the ties to their own communities. Like those photographers before
them, they demonstrate the ownership and authority to image from within.
The field shows much promise through
the teachings and influence of professional artists for the next
generation of artists. The exhibition also features works by four
Indigenous MFA students, and two younger students of photography.
Their work reassures the continuance of this art form within Indigenous
communities, and continues to challenge the field that, historically,
has been so destructive and aggressive in colonial history.
ExhibitsUSA (dates/venues tba)
Amerind Foundation, Dragoon (Jul
Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis (Feb-May
Autry National Center, Los Angeles (Sep
07 - Feb 08)
Burke Museum of Natural
History and Culture, Seattle
(Feb- May 07)