Opportunities to view indigenous peoples through the eyes of indigenous photographers are rare and recent. Our People, Our Land, Our Images, opening this week at the OSU Museum of Art, presents the works of three generations of indigenous photographers from the North America, South America, the Middle East, and New Zealand.
The exhibition showcases 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 many perspectives represented in the exhibition offer 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.
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.
Our People, Our Land, Our Images is on view from Sept. 1, 2016 – Jan. 7, 2017. Entrance to the exhibition and all related programming is free to the public.