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Will Wilson, “Eric Garcia Lopez, citizen of First Nation Purepecha Tribe (Tarasco)” from the CIPX SFAI series, (2012) (courtesy Annenberg Space for Photography)

Since Europeans first made contact with the Americas five centuries ago, depictions of indigenous peoples have largely been created by and for the colonizers. Only fairly recently have native artists, like James Luna, Jeffrey Gibson, and the collective Postcommodity, begun to take back control of their image.

Diné (Navajo) artist Will Wilson has sought to reclaim a sense of agency through two bodies of work. The first is Auto Immune Response (AIR), a series of photographs and objects that imagine native strategies for coping in a post-apocalyptic world. The second is the Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX), a pointed response to Edward S. Curtis’s early 20th-century encyclopedic study The North American Indian. Using a wet plate collodion process, Wilson aims to reorient “Curtis’s Settler gaze” by collaborating with his sitters to “indigenize the photographic exchange,” he notes. Works from both these series are included in the current exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography, Not an Ostrich, which brings together 500 images from the Library of Congress collection. This Thursday, Wilson will be joined by Autry Museum curator Dr. Amy Scott to discuss ways in which native artists are reframing their representation.

When: Thursday, June 28, 7–8:30pm
Where: Annenberg Space for Photography (2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, Los Angeles)

More info and tickets at Annenberg Space for Photography.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.