Exhibition until May 15, 2023
The Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery at Santa Monica College (SMC) will host a free reception to celebrate the exhibition Project 562: Changing the Way We See Indigenous America, by tribal photographer, writer and podcaster Matika Wilbur Tulalip and Swinomish. Everyone is invited to meet the artist at the gallery’s reception on Tuesday, October 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition will be visible until May 15, 2023.
The SMC Pete & Susan Barrett Gallery is located at the SMC Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th Street (on Santa Monica Boulevard), Santa Monica.
Wilbur – Santa Monica College’s Artist-in-Residence for 2022-2023 – will also deliver a highly informative keynote address earlier today at 3 p.m. in the Student Services Orientation Lobby on SMC’s main campus, located at 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. The speech will reflect the themes of the exhibition at Barrett Gallery and provide insight into contemporary Native American life through a new model of awareness, with honest photographic representation and direct accounts of America’s First Peoples.
Wilbur’s consciousness-shifting exhibit counters the cliched media portrayal of Indigenous peoples with a comprehensive repository of images and oral histories accurately depicting the diversity and richness of contemporary Indigenous America. The show is made possible by the generous support of Mark and Freya Ivener, and SMC Student Associates; SMC Equity, Pathways and Inclusion Division; SMC Associates; SMC Art Department, SMC Photography Department, SMC World Council; SMC Institute for Public Policy; and the SMC Foundation.
Wilbur founded Project 562 ten years ago as a teacher at her community’s tribal school. After experiencing the visceral and violent effects that one-dimensional Native racist imagery had on her students, she sold everything out of her Seattle apartment and packed her life into her RV, the “Big Girl.” Wilbur then set out to make photos of people from over 562 federally recognized tribes. Over the past decade, that focus has expanded as she travels across Turtle Island and beyond, documenting and amplifying contemporary Indigeneity. Wilbur has now visited over 750 communities and shared the story with countless parents.
The Project 562 book will be published in Spring 2023 by Ten Speed Press and Penguin Random House. Project 562 is Wilbur’s fourth major creative project that elevates Native American identity and culture. His first project captured portraits of Coast Salish elders for We Are One People (2004, Seattle Art Museum). His next project, We Emerge, featured Indigenous peoples in contemporary urban and traditional contexts (2008, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture), and was followed by Save the Indian and Kill the Man, which dealt with Forced Cultural Assimilation of Indigenous Peoples (2012, Tacoma Museum of Art).
Since 2015, Wilbur has given over 300 keynote addresses at institutions including Harvard University, Stanford University, Google, the National Education Association, and TED. She is a National Geographic Explorer and recipient of the prestigious Leica Photo Award. She co-hosts the popular Indigenous issues podcast All My Relations, which invites guests to explore the connections between the land, kindred creatures and each other.
In her role as SMC’s Artist-in-Residence, Wilbur collaborated with Barrett Gallery Director Emily Silver and SMC students to build her exhibit from the ground up. Students participated in building walls, printing and framing pictures, extensive research and manipulation of artwork. Together, Wilbur and the students curated images centered around authentic and poignant narratives and crafted this groundbreaking show.
“Equity, diversity and inclusion are integral to the culture of Santa Monica College and drive everything we do,” said Barrett Art Gallery Director Emily Silver. “Matika Wilbur’s work fits perfectly into this direction, and we are more than delighted to present his urgent and challenging work, especially as he will speak powerfully to diverse SMC students about the transformative power of art. and representation.
“Project 562 dispatches can be found @project_562, and at matikawilbur.com,project562.comand allmyrelationspodcast.com. For more information on the Santa Monica College Expo and all upcoming events, contact [email protected] or visit smcbarrettgallery.com (the gallery is also on Instagram as @smcbarrettgallery). Guests must visit smc.edu/coronavirus before heading to the gallery for up-to-date details on vaccine and mask requirements, as requirements are subject to change.