By Southwester Staff
Unlike sculpture or painting, which is best experienced in person, photography is an art form that can be appreciated through images and prints outside of art galleries.
Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field at the National Museum of the American Indian features two photo essays that explore Native American history and offer insights into 21 century Native American life. It also gives nuanced perspectives on an American experience that is invisible to mainstream society.
The first of these photo essays, along with maps, timelines and text, is The Genízaro People of Abiquiú, by Russel Albert Daniels, which explores a history “born out of violence and slavery.”
For centuries, the Apache, Navajo, Pueblo, Ute, Tewa and Other Pueblo people forged trails through and farmed around the rugged Rio Chama valley. The creation of New Spain in 1535, and then the extension of the Spanish Empire into the Southwest in the 17 century, transformed the region. This imperial frontier was the scene of deadly clashes, retaliatory raids, and a brutal trade in Native slaves that forever altered the lives of Native peoples, including the Genízaro of Abiquiú in northern New Mexico.
The online link to the exhibit intersperses Daniels’ black and white photographs with personal narratives of the people, blending their sense of place and history in their Indigenous and Hispanic heritage.
The second sequential photo essay is Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America by Tailyr Irvine. It will be on view starting July 14.
Irvine’s photo essay delves into the legacy of U.S. government regulations impacting Native Americans’ most personal decisions, including with whom they have children – decisions deeply affecting young adults and their families.
Visit https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/index.html for more information and to view the oline exhibits.