Photographer Matika Wilbur's New Exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum

Photographer Matika Wilbur shows us what real Indians look like
Brangien Davis  |   May 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
exhibit at tacoma art museum matika wilbur project 562 seattle magazine
Stephen Yellowtail, a member of the Crow nation, photographed as part of Project 562

“What does it mean to be an indian? What is Indian enough?” These are questions artist Matika Wilbur asks her subjects as she travels across the country interviewing and photographing members of more than 560 federally recognized Native American tribes. You can hear the diverse answers via audio clips—and see the similarly varied portraits—in the new exhibit Photographic Proof of Contemporary Indians: Matika Wilbur’s Project 562. A member of the Swinomish and Tulalip tribes, Wilbur began her journey in late 2012, motivated by the desire to refute stereotypes about Native Americans and reveal the vibrant individuality present in these indigenous communities. On her travel blog (matikawilbur.com/blog), Wilbur says, “We survived genocide. We survived relocation. We refuse termination. And we are doing our best to move beyond assimilation and the pressures of extinction.” By collecting rich histories and contemporary stories—and creating genuine portraits—Wilbur is helping to ensure the Native population is not just a thing of the past. 5/17–10/5 (artist lecture: 5/17, 4 p.m.). Times and prices vary. Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave.; 253.272.4258; tacomaartmuseum.org