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BY HER HAND NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN, THEIR ART & THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF EDWARD S. CURTIS

UNTITLED (GIRL WITH JAR) - HOPI, 1900

A GUESTCURATOR TRAVELING EXHIBITION


Everything that gives birth is female. When men begin to “understand the relationships of the universe that women have always known, the world will begin to change for the better.

—Lorraine Canoe, Mohawk, 1993

“By Her Hand: Native American Women, Their Art and the Photographs of Edward S. Curtis” This highly innovative traveling exhibition brings together Native American artwork and objects, with iconic photographs by Edward S. Curtis, creating a unified, powerful exhibition experience. The synergistic relationship between the images and venue collection artifacts enriches the meaning of both by giving context, insight and perspective that would otherwise be unattainable. By focusing on Native women and their art, it will give viewers a deeper understanding of women’s roles within Native society, culture and family. This fosters a fuller appreciation of both the great scope and complexities of the many roles they took on in their traditional lives. Both classic, rare, and lesser-known Curtis photographs of native women, their artwork and the environment in which they lived will be incorporated in the exhibition. The imagery breathes life into the objects and vice-versa, each further enriching the other and further illustrating the connection between the individuals and their way of life.


MOTHER AND CHILD - APSAROKE, 1908


TAOS WATER GIRLS (VARIANT), 1905 Printed directly from Edward Curtis’ original glass-plate negative, showing a young girl to the left of the cottonwood. This was cropped out of Curtis’ original prints.


MOHAVE POTTER, 1907

“By Her Hand” includes approximately 60 vintage and contemporary Curtis photographs from the internationally acclaimed Christopher G. Cardozo Collection. Museums that have Native American collections will have the opportunity to present objects from their own collection to accompany the photographs. The diverse collection of artifacts held by each museum will complement the range of cultural/geographic areas and subject matter found in Curtis’ photographs. This interplay between function and beauty will invite participation from viewers of all age groups and backgrounds, allowing many access points into the work. Museums may also choose to simply display the photographs, which have been chosen to create a beautiful, stimulating exhibition in their own right. 2018 is the 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis’ birth. There are major exhibitions, publications, installations, and events being organized internationally. The “By Her Hand” Exhibition and publication are integral parts of this multi-year celebration and as such will benefit from the momentum and attention created by this major event.


...In these humble arts the strength of Native culture lives on. “Women still make pots using the same techniques and designs.

Women still reap crops and harvest rice in canoes. And into their rugs and baskets, their clothing and beadwork, women still weave the sacred symbols of their nations. —Louise Erdrich, “Intensity of Regard” from The Women

GIRL AND JAR - SAN ILDEFONSO, 1905

By Her Hand naturally lends itself to a rich conversation regarding the environment and respect for natural resources. Both Curtis’ portraits and landscapes present a unique view of North America—what human life looked like among Native peoples, and how they interacted with their environment. This can serve as a strong catalyst for discussion about contemporary environmental issues, such as sustainability and stewardship.


MOSA - MOHAVE, 1903


This exhibition allows viewers to experience the world of Native women through the eyes of an internationally recognized artist while gaining a deeper understanding of Native American history, culture, and the diverse roles that women played as well as the contributions they made. The photographs and corresponding objects each celebrate the intrinsic beauty and importance of cultural and material diversity, but together they create an aesthetic experience that goes well beyond function or narrative. “By Her Hand� will be accompanied by a major publication of the same name, published by internationally respected DelMonico Books/Prestel Publishing. The publication will contain over one hundred and fifty state-of-the-art reproductions of Curtis imagery and Native American objects, as well as extensive texts by prominent scholars and writers.

THE BLANKET WEAVER - NAVAHO, 1904


A MONO HOME, 1924

Being born as humans to this earth is a very sacred trust. We “have a sacred responsibility because of the special gift we have,

which is beyond the fine gifts of...all other living things on earth. We are able to take care of them. — Audrey Shenandoah, Onondaga


PLAYMATES - APSAROKE, 1905

Artistic Virtuosity: Curtis employed, and this Exhibition will incorporate, an unusually wide variety of photographic processes. The vast majority of his original photographs were printed as photogravures for his magnum opus The North American Indian. All were printed on expensive, hand-made papers. Curtis also created a significant body of platinum prints. These prints have been exhibited in major museums internationally and are found in prestigious public collections including the Getty Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Curtis created a wide variety of silver prints. The most frequently encountered are called goldtones (or “orotones” or “Curt-Tones”). This was Curtis’ most favored process, primarily because of their tremendous luminosity and three-dimensionality. Curtis also created gelatin silver paper-based prints for sale and/or exhibition and these are virtually always sepia toned and are even rarer than platinum prints or goldtones. Curtis also created untoned, gelatin silver “reference prints”. Gold-toned printing-out paper prints (or collodian-silver prints) on single weight paper, are a printing-out process and are gold-toned. They are extremely rare and were produced principally in 1899 and 1900. They are marked by their fine grain structure, sharp resolution and russety sepia tone. Curtis created a large body of cyanotypes (blue-hued, printing-out process prints). These were made in the field contemporaneously with the creation of negatives and, presumably, virtually all of his 40,000-plus negatives were initially printed as cyanotypes; however, few of these survived. Examples of all print mediums in which Curtis worked will be included in this Exhibition.


part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every mist “in Every the dark woods, every clearing and every humming insect

is holy in the memory of my people. Every part of this soil is sacred—every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove— responds lovingly to our footsteps… —Chief Seattle - Suquamish, 1855


Both inspired and limited by their particular environments, Native women developed strategies and coordinated efforts to meet the needs of their immediate family and to contribute to the well-being of their tribes. Utilitarian objects were created, modified and repaired by women on a daily basis. Other objects were created for ceremonies, special occasions, and trade. The sum of these objects is a testimony to the inventiveness and aesthetic ability of generations of Native American women. Edward Curtis captured the Native American connection and interdependence with the environment in his photographs. His images convey the Native understanding of the need for a harmonious balance between humans and the environment, an issue of critical importance today.

KUTENAI DUCK HUNTER, 1910


EMBARKING - KUTENAI, 1910

WITH HER PROUDLY DECKED HORSE (VARIANT), 1910

UNTITLED (NAMPEYO PAINTING), 1900

PUGET SOUND BASKETS, 1912


marks on the grass. “The sunlight does not leaveSoitswe too pass silently. —Chief Dan George, Coast Salish “My Heart Soars”

Christopher Cardozo and Christopher Cardozo Fine Art (CCFA)

CCFA has been the leading source for the artwork of Edward S. Curtis for over thirty-five years. Cardozo Fine Art is proud to have created the most extensive exhibition program of Curtis photography in history. It is estimated that CCFA Curtis Exhibitions have been seen by more people around the world than all previous Curtis exhibitions combined. For the past decade CCFA has also been passionately involved in the creation of contemporary original photographs by Edward S. Curtis, many from Curtis’ original glass plate negatives. These contemporary original Curtis photographs have been exhibited and collected throughout the world. Through it’s books, exhibitions, lectures, and gallery CCFA has brought Curtis to well over ten million people in forty countries, across six continents.

ZUNI GIRLS (UNPUBLISHED IMAGE), c. 1905

Christopher Cardozo is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading expert in the work of Edward S. Curtis. Over the past forty years he has assembled the world’s most extensive collection of vintage original photographs by Edward Curtis. Cardozo is the author of eight monographs on Curtis and has lectured internationally on him for over thirty years. As the curator of the photographic portion of this Exhibition, he brings an unparalleled depth of understanding of Curtis’ work. He has pioneered a new understanding of Curtis’ work and the recognition that it was a highly collaborative, participatory project involving approximately 10,000 native people. Cardozo now refers to the work as the “Sacred Legacy of Beauty, Heart and Spirit”.


Everything on the earth has a purpose, “every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence. — Mourning Dove Salish

POTTERY BURNERS AT SANTA CLARA, 1905

For information about how to host By Her Hand contact: GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions 505.988.5839 cgraves@guestcurator.com www.guestcurator.com


By Her Hand, Museum Brochure