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Matika Wilbur, Darkfeather, Bibiana and Eckos Ancheta (Tribal Affiliation: Tulalip Tribes) (2014), inkjet print [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, May 17-Oct 5] courtesy of the artist

Matika Wilbur, Darkfeather, Bibiana and Eckos Ancheta (Tribal Affiliation: Tulalip Tribes) (2014), inkjet print [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, May 17-Oct 5] courtesy of the artist

Photographic Presence and Contemporary Indians:
Matika Wilbur’s Project 562

Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma WA – May 17-Oct 5, 2014

Matika Wilbur is a young, proactive Native American photographer from the Pacific Northwest. In 2012, she left Seattle and began an ambitious photographic quest to capture contemporary portraits from all federally recognized sovereign tribal nations in the United States. The undertaking grew with help from two Kickstarter campaigns and a supportive social media network. Now, though still ongoing, Wilbur’s Project 562 (the name refers to the 562 tribes at the beginning of the project) is having its inaugural exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum.

Wilbur’s work sets out to shift consciousness and bring integrity to contemporary tribal people by conveying positive indigenous role models from this century. She has travelled thousands of miles, visited more than 150 tribes, collected stories from leaders and educators, reflected on both elders and youth and heard many painful histories.

Her incredible portraits are clearly the result of moving and heartfelt interactions with many individuals. The black-and-white images portray complex personalities, often positioned starkly against the immense and beautiful backdrop of the vast U.S. landscape. She creates inkjet and silver gelatin prints, often hand-colouring them to bring out personal details about her subjects. The photographs are an amalgam of dedicated artistry and committed documentary measures.

The exhibit showcases 40 of these artworks and includes selected audio narratives from people Wilbur has visited. The magnitude and the detail of this project together convey the diverse spectrum of today’s Native Americans and, in the process, present a new and hopeful perspective on this national cultural heritage.

Allyn Cantor

Matika Wilbur, Sky and Talon Duncan (Tribal Affiliation: Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation and San Carlos Apache Tribe)

Matika Wilbur, Sky and Talon Duncan (Tribal Affiliation: Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation and San Carlos Apache Tribe) (2014), inkjet print [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, May 17-Oct 5] courtesy of the artist

Matika Wilbur, Mary Evelyn Belgarde (Tribal Affiliation: Pueblo of Isleta and Ohkay Owingeh)
Matika Wilbur, Mary Evelyn Belgarde (Tribal Affiliation: Pueblo of Isleta and Ohkay Owingeh) (2014), inkjet print [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, May 17-Oct 5] courtesy of the artist

Matika Wilbur, Stephen Yellowtail (Tribal Affiliation: Crow Nation)
Matika Wilbur, Stephen Yellowtail (Tribal Affiliation: Crow Nation) (2014), sepia-toned gelatin silver print with hand colouring [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, May 17-Oct 5] courtesy of the artist



 Fri, Jun 6, 2014