First Person: Contemporary Indigenous Portraiture

June 18 - September 25, 2016

Organized by Glenbow; curated by Sarah Todd

Vintage Photograph of Canyon de Chelly - Navaho, 1904

First Person: Contemporary Indigenous Portraiture features work by contemporary indigenous artists from across Canada who use portraiture as a powerful gesture of both self-expression and self-determination. From manipulating historical photographs and film footage to documentary-style image making, these works provide a range of perspectives on the representation of indigenous people historically and in our present moment. Featuring works by KC Adams, Carl Beam, Michelle Latimer, George Littlechild, Kimowan Metchewais, Kent Monkman, Jane Ash Poitras, Skeena Reece and Jeff Thomas.

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This exhibition is concerned with lens-based portraiture, meaning artwork that uses photography, film or video in its making. The camera has been used as a tool to document and represent indigenous peoples since its inception. Despite the fact that a photograph represents only an isolated amount of information with no absolute claim to truth or accuracy, many historical images have informed the way indigenous peoples and their cultures are perceived. In First Person, contemporary indigenous artists are using the camera and the images it produces to create works of art that interrogate the complexities of identity, legacy and the mercurial power of the image.


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