Photography exhibit highlights Native American culture

The story of the Native American is often seen through the pages of history books. For photographer Matika Wilbur, that story is a way of life that continues to be told every day through her thoughtful lens.

Her photographic insights are on display through June 10, at River House Arts in Perrysburg.

“Matika Wilbur: Indian Enough” will feature a free talk by the artist at 7 p.m. May 16. “Indian Enough” is the first in a series of exhibitions River House Arts is hosting in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the battles that occurred in our region during the War of 1812, including the First Siege of Fort Meigs in May 1813. These military events were critical not only to the U.S. victory over England and its Native American allies, but to the change in U.S. policy toward indigenous peoples of North America, and the end of any promise for an independent, sovereign nation of Native Americans.

 

‘Chenoa’ by Matika Wilbur.

The exhibit is part of Wilbur’s Project 562, which aims to photograph individuals from each of the 562 federally recognized American Indian tribes.

“We’ve spent the last two years looking at work by Native American artists,” said gallery co-founder Paula Baldoni, “and first came across Matika’s work online via her Kickstarter campaign where she was attempting to raise funds for the project. [We] agreed to give her a show without seeing a single print, which is always a gamble. We were just really impressed with her work and the way she was putting herself out there.”

Wilbur, who is based in Seattle, is a member of the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes, and was raised on the Swinomish Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. She has exhibited at Royal British Columbia Museum, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound and Tacoma Art Museum.

“This woman is making history; whether you like her work or not, it’s visually contemporary and it highlights another aspect of our culture. This is an artist who’s going to be around making work for a long time to come,” Baldoni said.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. River House Arts is located at 115 W. Front St. in Perrysburg For more information, call (419) 874-8900 or visit www.river-house-arts.com.

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