Indigenous Photography: 100 Years and Counting

Our People, Our Land, Our Images Exhibition
Opens February 24 at Wayland Baptist University

February 18, 2014

Opportunities to view indigenous peoples through the eyes of indigenous photographers are rare and recent. Out People, Our Land, Our Images, which opens Feb. 24 at Wayland Baptist University’s Abraham Art Gallery, Malouf Abraham Family Art Center, presents the works of three generations of indigenous photographers from the North America, South America, the Middle East, and New Zealand. They include newly discovered 19th-century trailblazers, well established contemporary practitioners, and emerging photographers from the next generation.

The 51 works in the exhibition tell their stories through differing photographic approaches, ranging from straightforward documentary to aesthetically altered images that combine overlays and collage. The images stand united, however, in exploring their creators’ connections to their land, community, and traditions. Artists’ statements accompanying the exhibition convey a variety of indigenous voices and concerns. The 26 artists in the exhibition include Cherokee Jennie Ross Cobb, the earliest known female Native American photographer.

The many perspectives represented in the exhibition offers an open-ended experience that asks audiences to think about how the camera in the hands of indigenous peoples becomes a tool with the power to confront and analyze stereotypes, politics and histories. Our People, Our Land, Our Images also demonstrates the longevity and continuing vitality of native photographic traditions.

“Their works show strong connection to community, connection to the land, connection to the sacred, and personal visions of family, ancestors, and the importance of keeping all these things in continuance,” said Dr. Candace Keller, Curator of the Abraham Art Gallery. “The exhibit includes many hands-on educational materials, and will be especially interesting to student groups.”

The Abraham Art Gallery is located in the basement of the Mabee Learning Resources Center and is open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday from 2-5 p.m., or by special arrangement. School groups may call 291-3710 for earlier opening times to accommodate their schedules.