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Native Americans through the lens

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Native Americans through the lens

(c) Zig Jackson

On March 7, The Cleveland Museum of Art will open its first Native American exhibition in nearly 30 years, Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, a major traveling exhibition developed by the Fenimore Art Museum.

The exhibition will explore Native North American art from the Eastern Woodlands to the Northwest through more than 140 masterpieces spanning 2,000 years and will provide visitors with a broad understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic accomplishments and cultural heritage of this country’s first peoples.

To expand upon Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, CMA will host a special photography exhibition in the museum’s east wing drawing upon our complete set of Edward S. Curtis’ landmark publication, The North American Indian, containing more than 2,200 photogravures. Two-thirds of the photography galleries will be devoted to the work of Edward S. Curtis featuring 30 of his large scale photogravures. The remainder will house the work of a contemporary Native American photographer, Zig Jackson, with 15 images from his series, Tribal Peoples.

Together, these two collections of photographs tell a unique tale about Native Americans.  Curtis’ work, taken around 1900, documents Native Americans when many believed the various groups were near their end of existence.  Jackson’s contemporary photography, shows that Native Americans are still very much present in the modern world.  It’s a visual narrative that portrays the endurance and significance these groups have in American history.

The exhibition, free to the public, is on view from Feb. 7 – May 30, 2010.

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