Our People Our Land

Posted: July 1, 2017

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts opens Indigenous Photography Exhibition July 15

Our People, Our Land, Our Images spans 100 years

2017 opoloi mcneil yeil

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) will open Our People, Our Land, Our Images on July 15, an exhibition of 51 works by 26 indigenous photographers from Iraq, New Zealand, Peru, and North America, including Jennie Ross Cobb (Cherokee), the first known Native American woman photographer in the U.S. The group includes 19th-century trailblazers, contemporary artists, and emerging photographers.

"We need more opportunities to view indigenous peoples through their own eyes," says KIA Executive Director Belinda Tate. "This important exhibition offers varying styles but each image, paired with the artist's statement, conveys connections to the artist's land, tradition, and community.

The exhibition provides a parallel and ongoing history of photography within Native American communities from as early as 1899. In stark contrast to the works by non-native photographers, the images reveal equitable relationships between the photographers and their sitters, and depict people and communities from an insider perspective rather than that of a tourist or government agent. Most importantly, the sitters share, participate, and in some cases direct their visual representation.

Varying from straightforward, traditional documentary photographs to aesthetically altered images combining overlays and collage, the images ask audiences to think about how the camera, in the hands of indigenous people, has the power to confront and analyze stereotypes, politics, and histories.

The exhibition was curated by Veronica Passalacqua, curator at the C.N. Gorman Museum, and circulated by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition continues through October 22, and is sponsored by Warner, Norcross and Judd, Attorneys at Law.
Related programs

July 20 David Penney

Thursday, July 20, 5:30-8 pm: Opening reception and curator's talk, with David W. Penney, associate director of museum scholarship at the National Museum of the American Indian and co-curator of the exhibition Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist (through September 10). Penney will speak on Changing Perspectives on Indigenous Art, and the evolving place and respect for indigenous art in museums today. An internationally recognized scholar, curator, and museum administrator, Penney joined the NMAI after a 31-year career at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Tuesdays, August 8 & 15, ARTbreak Video: Coming To Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian The dramatic story of photographer Edward Curtis' life and his monumental body of photographs, along with stories from descendants of his subjects. Free.
Thursday, August 24, 6:30 pm, Talk & Demonstration: Black Ash Basketry with artists ohn and Johnny Pigeon, from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Tuesday, September 19, noon, Artist's Talk: Dancing for My Tribe: Potawatomi Tradition in Modern Times with photographer Sharon Hoogstraten
About the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
The KIA is a place where visitors can learn about diverse cultural experiences. Since 1924, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, a private non-profit organization, has presented opportunities to the community--and to visitors from around the world--to enjoy and create art. The KIA holds more than 4,700 fine artworks in its permanent collection, including works by Juane Quick-To-See Smith and pueblo pottery. The KIA offers exhibitions in 10 long-term and changing galleries; art classes at the Kirk Newman Art School; and a Gallery Shop featuring gifts, accessories, apparel, and artwork by Michigan artists. The KIA believes the visual arts are for everyone, and that they inspire, transform, and fulfill.

About the Curator
Veronica Passalacqua is curator for the C. N. Gorman Museum, University of California, Davis. She organized this exhibition in conjunction with a conference for international indigenous photographers. For the past 15 years, Passalacqua has been active in the field of Native North American art as a writer, curator, and scholar. Most recently, she facilitated the donation/repatriation of a significant private Lakota collection of artifacts to the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, Pine Ridge Reservation. Previous curatorial work includes exhibitions at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford; the Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock; and the Barbican Art Gallery, London.

About ExhibitsUSA
The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.
For more information: log on to kiarts.org, call 269/349-7775, or reply to this email.

2017 opoloi lord untitled i tan

Erica Lord (Athabaskan/Inupiaq, b. 1978), Untitled (I Tan To Look More Native) from the series "Tanning Project," 2006, inkjet C-print, 20 x 28 inches, courtesy the artist. ©Erica Lord.

(At the top) Larry McNeil (a.k.a. Tee Harbor Jackson Xhe-Dhé McNeil, Tlingit, b. 1955), Yéil, 2006, digital print, 30 x 31 inches, courtesy the artist. ©Larry McNeil.