By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The works of three generations of indigenous photographers from North America, South America, the Middle East, and New Zealand are now on display at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art.
“Our People, Our Land, Our Images,” exhibition opened on September 1 and will run through January 7, 2017. Exhibit hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is open until 8 on Thursdays and closed Sundays and on OSU holidays.
The OSU Museum of Art is located in the Postal Plaza, a renovated 1933 Federal Post Office, at 720 S Husband St., in downtown Stillwater. Entrance to the exhibition and all related programming is free to the public.
According to a press release from OSU regarding the exhibition, “the exhibition has been carefully constructed as a first person, indigenous account. Reflecting contemporary trends, the photographs vary in style, from straightforward documentary accounts to aesthetically altered images combining overlays and collage.”
“Our People, Our Land, Our Images offers a rare first-person account of indigenous peoples’ experiences of bicultural identity through photography,” said Arlette Klaric, Associate Chief Curator and Curator of Collections at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art.
“The exhibition is distinctive in its historical span, ranging from newly discovered, nineteenth-century trailblazers to well-established contemporary and emerging photographers,” Klaric said. “As a teaching museum one of our priorities is to enrich appreciation of our state’s and nation’s cultural histories among our University and community audiences. This exhibition provides the added insight of an international perspective.”
There are a total of 51 works in the exhibition, which tell the artist’s stories through “differing photographic approaches, ranging from straightforward documentary to aesthetically altered images that combine overlays and collage.
“The images work together to reflect the artist’s connection to land, community, and traditions. Accompanying the exhibition are artist’s statements, which “convey a variety of indigenous voices and concerns,” the release continued.
Artists whose work can be seen in the exhibition include Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie, Shan Goshorn, Zig Jackson and Pena Bonita.
The perspectives represented in the exhibition showcase what the release described as “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.”
ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities each year. Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States.
The exhibition was originally organized by the C. N. Gorman Museum at the University of California, Davis in conjunction with a conference for international indigenous photographers.
Gorman’s curator, Veronica Passalacqua, is the exhibit’s guest curator.
Opened in January 2014, the OSU Museum of Art serves as a home to Oklahoma State University’s permanent collection of art and as a teaching museum for students. It provides hands-on opportunities to learn while connecting students with a broader arts community beyond the OSU campus.
OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.