Photos examine stereotypes, culture

As part of the 14th Annual Lawrence Indian Arts Show, the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art will display "Four Photographers: Zig Jackson, Victor Masayesva Jr., Shelley Niro, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie," an exhibition of works by four American Indian photographers. The exhibit runs through Oct. 20.

Exhibited for the first time in this region, the photographers celebrate their own cultures and call attention to some of the stereotypes and misconceptions of their daily lives.


Special to the Journal-World

"Mohawks in Beehives, 1991," a hand-colored photograph by Shelly Niro, is among the works in "Four Photographers: Zig Jackson, Victor Masayesva Jr., Shelley Niro, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie," an exhibit at the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art at Kansas University.

The photographers are:

l Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole/Muskogee/Din�) was born in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1954. At age 12 she moved to the Navajo (Din�) Reservation. She studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and lived for a long time in the Bay Area.

She typically employs photomontage, collage and mixed media to reveal and challenge stereotypes and raise issues of human rights, especially concerning American Indians and women.

The hand-colored photographs in the exhibition are from her 1996 portfolio, "Women of Hope: Portraits of Indigenous Women." Commissioned by the Bread and Roses Cultural Project for the third in a series of poster sets, they were made in 1997 and distributed with a study guide throughout the United States.

l Victor Masayesva Jr. (Hopi) is a celebrated filmmaker and photographer who lives in Hotevilla, a Hopi village on Third Mesa in northern Arizona that still resists having electricity.

Born in 1951 and raised in Hotevilla, Maseyesva graduated from Princeton University, where he majored in literature and studied photography with Emmet Gowin. Masayesva's work progressed from literature to photography to film as he attempted both to "understand the white man" and to represent American Indian culture and issues. His work was included in the 1991 Whitney Biennial and he has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally.

l Shelley Niro (Mohawk Nation, Iroquois Confederacy, Turtle Clan, Six Nations Reserve) was born in 1954 in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and grew up on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada.

She graduated from Cambrian College in 1972, studied at Durham College's Graphics Programme in Oshawa, Ontario, and at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, and is a 2001 recipient of an Eiteljorg Fellowship. She lives in Brantford, Ontario, where she is both a filmmaker and photographer.

"Four Photographers: Zig Jackson, Victor Masayesva Jr., Shelley Niro, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie," an exhibit of works by American Indian photographers, will be displayed through Oct. 20 in the White Gallery at Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art at Kansas University.Public events associated with the exhibit include:� Tour du jour by Spencer Museum director Andrea Norris, curator of the exhibition, 12:15 p.m. Thursday.� Screening of two films, "It Starts with a Whisper" and "Honey Moccasin," 7 p.m. Thursday.� Screening of "Imagining Indians," 7 p.m. Sept. 19.

l Zig Jackson (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) is a photographer whose wry depictions of himself wearing a feathered headdress in various parts of San Francisco point out the absurdity of assuming what American Indians look like and the possibility that he felt as foreign and strange as he looks in a large impersonal city. Jackson has said the fact that no one seems to notice him in his conspicuous attire points out that "in many respects, the Native American is still invisible in contemporary America."

Jackson also said that he intended the photographs in this series to call to mind the Bureau of Indian Affairs relocation program, through which Indians were supposed to be assimilated into Euro-American society.


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