In celebration of the Native American Heritage Month, Glendale Library Arts and Culture and ReflectSpace Gallery is proud to present “Nowhere and Everywhere: Indigenous in America” an exhibition that investigates the myriad ways in which Native Americans are represented and misrepresented through popular culture imagery while creating a counterpoint to this imagery through humanistic photography and contemporary art by two Native artists: Navajo artist and filmmaker Pamela J. Peters and Kiowa photographer Horace Poolaw. The exhibit also examines the insidious spaces, imagery and critical approach of the California Mission System.
“Nowhere and Everywhere” collects a plethora of stereotypical indigenous imagery that are pervasive in our culture: from the most surprising as well as the most mundane places. From cigarette cards, to fruit crate labels, to album covers and National Park adverts, this imagery lodges Native America at the very center of the American psyche. Ironically, it is the very same psyche and colonial agenda that has done everything possible to eliminate Native American culture from this land. Often other cultures are also included in the stereotypical representations that accompany this imagery.
As an authentic and forceful counterpoint, Pamela J. Peters’ (who co-curated “Erasure” at ReflectSpace Gallery in 2019) work subverts this imagery with wit and insight through her series called “Real NDNZ Re-Take Hollywood.” These intimate photographs recreate iconic movie star portraits from the days of classical Hollywood cinema featuring contemporary Native American actors and disrupt and decolonizes their clichéd portrayals. Native American actors stand in the shoes of Cary Grant, Audry Hepburn and others and allows us to imagine what could have been if the settler-colonial state was not murderous but believed in coexistence. Also providing a counterpoint is the deeply humanistic photography of Horace Poolaw (1906-1984): a notable Kiowa photographer and one of the first professional Native American photographers of the early 20th century. Poolaw photographed from inside his Kiowa community in Oklahoma and documented a time of great changes for Native Americans. His photographs differ significantly from photographs of Native peoples by non-Native photographers, like Edward Curtis, which often stereotyped Native Americans as a “vanishing race,” or as peoples unable to adapt to modernity. In contrast, Poolaw depicted Native people’s day-to-day life, their vibrancy and pride in their culture and way of life. He photographed himself, his family, friends, and Kiowa leaders.
“Nowhere and Everywhere” also addresses one of the most insidious spaces of colonization: the Mission system. The exhibit brings together critical text, historical photographs and popular imagery to contextualize the role and function of the missions as sites of incarceration and subjugation of Native Americans.
“Nowhere and Everywhere: Indigenous in America” runs from October 26, 2020 to Januay 31, 2021 in a 3D virtual gallery.
“Nowhere and Everywhere: Indigenous in America” is part of the Glendale Library, Arts & Culture’s (GLAC), the Southern California Library Cooperative and Niche Academy’s Be The Change series focused on: Inclusion – Diversity – Equity – Antiracism. Be The Change events will build collective understanding of systemic racism, elevate the voices and stories of BIPOC, and inspire our community to be the change.
The Be The Change series takes place in conjunction with such commemorations as Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, Black History Month, Armenian History Month, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, and LGBTQ+ Pride. The series will also examine the one-year anniversary of the 2020 racial justice protests and 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. The series will include virtual lectures, exhibits, and online programming from authors, curators, historians, panelists, speakers, and GLAC staff. Be The Change is sponsored by the City of Glendale, California Arts and Culture Commission, with funding from the City of Glendale Urban Art Fund.
Glendale Library Arts and Culture and ReflectSpace Gallery acknowledge that we are here as guests of the Tongva peoples who are the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (LA Basin & Channel Islands).