In 2017, The Wittliff exhibited a selection of images from Edward Curtis The North American Indian. Soon thereafter, we were contacted by Dr. John Mckiernan-Gonzalez, Director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest, who recommended that we look at the photographs of Will Wilson, a Native American photographer.
We are excited to share the news that we have recently acquired some of Wilson’s work. These four photographs are from his Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) series which depicts contemporary Native artists and art professionals using the 19th century wet plate photographic process. Wilson’s work is a direct response and critique of Curtis’ work but also expands upon it. In Wilson’s own words, his goal is to “resume the documentary mission of Curtis from the standpoint of a 21st century indigenous, trans-customary, cultural practitioner…. My aim is to convene with and invite indigenous artists, arts professionals, and tribal governance to engage in the performative ritual that is the studio portrait. This experience will be intensified and refined by the use of large format (8×10) wet plate collodion studio photography. This beautifully alchemic photographic process dramatically contributed to our collective understanding of Native American people and, in so doing, our American identity.”