LIFESTYLE Spotlight Artist
Kumu Olelo Kaeo Izon (Kanaka Maoli-Independent Nation of Hawaii), 2013.
Matika Wilbur WRITTEN BY GAREN GLAZIER
atika Wilbur hit the road in November 2012. The photographer was on a mission: to make portraits of members from each of the federally-recognized tribes in the United States, which numbered 562 at the time. Inspired by a dream she had in the mountains of Peru and funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Wilbur inaugurated Project 562 by visiting 13 tribes in California. Since then she has crisscrossed the country multiple times, been invited to the White House, exhibited locally and nationally, and photographed individuals from more than 250 of the tribes on her list, which now numbers 566. Her goal is to provide a new canon of Native American representation based not on old and lingering stereotypes but on the reality of contemporary American Indian experience. “In my work I seek and photograph positive indigenous role models from this century,” she said in a TED talk she delivered in Seattle in 2014. Her lens has documented native scholars, musicians, teachers, farmers, culture keepers, chiefs, and children, among many others. The portraits she captures are honest, unvarnished, beautiful. And they’ve made an impression. Her work has been covered extensively in the press, with articles appearing in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, and, most recently, O, The Oprah Magazine. The Project 562’s Facebook page has nearly 12,000 likes and she has given more keynote addresses to universities and cultural organizations than she can count. Her work
Sharlyce and Jennie Parker (Northern Cheyenne), 2014.
Matika Wilbur 24 NorthSoundLife.com