Put Another Feather On It! at Red Dot Gallery
Put Another Feather On It!, featuring photographs by several Native artists, opens Friday, Aug. 12, at Santa Fe Community College’s Red Dot Gallery (826 Canyon Road). “One of the photographers is Zoe Marieh Urness (Tlingit/Cherokee),” said curator Will Wilson, director of the SFCC photography department. “She has a number of images she took of people in customary garb — for example, a raven dancer and Apache crown dancers — and beautiful landscapes, so they’re sort of environmental portraits.
“Kali Spitzer from Canada (Kaska Dena/Romanian Jewish) has been going up and doing these camps with her older relatives who are still living a land-based existence, hunting caribou and tanning the hides. She has a documentary series of her last few summers doing that, and they’re pretty captivating.” Also in the show are Jamison Chas Banks (Cherokee/ Seneca-Cayuga), who has a piece that references the 43 indigenous students who recently disappeared in Mexico.
Osage artist Ryan Red Corn shares a few of his videos. And Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) shows an image of a 10-foot-long Indian “last supper” that Wilson said “is like a Who’s Who of Indian Market celebrities, basically.”
The early-August interview found Wilson in Oklahoma, where he’s making pictures of the descendants of Native people from that state whom Edward Curtis photographed for The North American Indian opus, published in volumes between 1907 and 1930. For that project, he is using an 8x10-view camera, developing prints with the wet-plate collodion process that dates to the 1850s. It’s the same camera he will use at Red Dot on Aug. 12, after the 5 p.m. exhibit opening reception, when he invites members of the public to sit for a studio portrait.
“The studio is part of my practice. I have a project I’ve been doing for the last four years called the Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange. One of my taglines is, ‘What if Indians invented photography? Would there be a different set of practices or protocols around the idea of making an image?’ I use the wet-plate process because it’s got this cool time-traveling aspect. I gift the sitter the actual object. If you sit for me, you walk away with the tintype, and in exchange I get a scan of it and permission to use that scan in my growing body of portraiture.”
Wilson gives a curator’s talk at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, also at the gallery. The exhibition, a part of the PhotoSummer program, hangs through Aug. 26. Call 505-820-7338 or visit www.red-dot-gallery.com for details. — Paul Weideman
Cara Romero: Oil Boom (2015)