Saturday, February 17, 2018
Arts

Dunedin photo exhibit features indigenous peoples from around the world

DUNEDIN

In the warm-toned black-and-white photo taken in 2007, two Ovazemba teenage girls from the African nation Namibia pose for the camera. One bare-breasted teen dons a necklace with a toy cellphone attached and the other wears a brassiere top. Both wear African print skirts and traditional beaded jewelry.

This collision of traditional and contemporary cultures is the thematic foundation for an international traveling exhibition by renowned photographer Dana Gluckstein.

Dignity: Tribes in Transition is on display at the Dunedin Fine Art Center through Oct. 16.

"It's an important exhibit," said art center curator Catherine Bergmann, noting that it will be viewed by adults as well as by many children on field trips. "This is one of those times when art takes on the role of teacher, healer and communicator."

The collection of more than 50 portraits was taken over a 30-year period of time, as Gluckstein and her constant companion, a 1981 Hasselblad film camera, captured images of indigenous peoples from across the globe. While most are dressed in ceremonial or traditional garb, a few wear more modern looks.

Some combine both such as a Goba boy in native dress wearing cargo shorts and track shoes. A Herero man looks like he stepped out of a 1950s jazz club. A Namibian woman appears straight out of the Victorian era.

The photos are striking for their rich detail, simple backgrounds and use of natural sunlight to illuminate not only faces, but inner souls. It's an exhibition that has far-reaching effects beyond traditional artistry.

The project began with a visit to Haiti in 1983, sort of a side trip after Gluckstein finished a commercial shoot in Puerto Rico. It was there she made the portrait, "Woman with Pipe," a dramatic portrayal that would set the tone for this body of work and her creative activism.

"The 'ancient ones' tell us where we have come from and where we must go as a world community," she writes in her statement. "Humanity's survival depends on how carefully we listen."

The portrait is part of this exhibition and also serves as the cover photo for Gluckstein's 2010 companion book, Dignity, a coffee table piece featuring more than 90 black-and-white duotone photographs "in honor of the rights of indigenous peoples."

The $39.95 book is for sale at the art center and was printed in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organization. The book includes a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as well as the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Currently, Gluckstein is working with Amnesty International USA on a campaign to end sexual crimes and discrimination against Native American women.

She has photographed world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Ali and has shot advertising campaigns for Apple and Toyota.

But it was her travels to the peripheral corners of the earth that helped her find her voice as an ally for these indigenous peoples, many involved in fights for their lands, their resources, their languages, their cultures and their dignity.

Whether it's a Hawaiian chanter with tears streaming down her face, a Peruvian healer hanging on to ancient customs, or a young Bhutan boy posing with a toy gun at a religious festival (apparently influenced by Hollywood films), Gluckstein remains squarely focused on the plight — and importance — of her subjects.

"This is a very timely topic," said Bergmann. "More than any other moment in recent history, we need to transform the climate of violence, hatred and divisiveness and come together with compassion and respect."

   
Comments
Exploring Cuba-U.S. relations through art exhibit in Tampa

Exploring Cuba-U.S. relations through art exhibit in Tampa

The title of the exhibition currently on display at the Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida could be misconstrued."Climate Change" doesn’t refer to the hot-button issue of global warming. Instead, the exhibition examines the ch...
Published: 02/16/18
Contemporary papercutting is showcased at HCC, while artistic lighting shines at Florida CraftArt

Contemporary papercutting is showcased at HCC, while artistic lighting shines at Florida CraftArt

BÉATRICE CORON: A CUT ABOVEThe transformative nature of paper makes paper arts one of the most exciting genres. It can be rolled or quilled to create three-dimensional portraits or landscapes; folded, as in origami; or intricately cut into awe-inspir...
Published: 02/14/18
Art review: The Obamas’ portraits are not what you’d expect and that’s why they’re great

Art review: The Obamas’ portraits are not what you’d expect and that’s why they’re great

WASHINGTON — The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, both painted by African-American artists, and both striking additions to the museum’s "America’s Presidents...
Published: 02/12/18
Dali/Duchamp explores the friendship of artists, new exhibits at the MFA reveal history

Dali/Duchamp explores the friendship of artists, new exhibits at the MFA reveal history

Highly Conceptual: Dalí/DuchampThe new exhibition opening Saturday at the Dalí Museum is another exploration of Dalí’s relationships with other groundbreaking artists. This time it’s Marcel Duchamp. Named the "father of conceptual art," Duchamp was a...
Published: 02/07/18
LizN’Bow introduce new media art to kids and the ArtLofts artists appear downstairs

LizN’Bow introduce new media art to kids and the ArtLofts artists appear downstairs

For the Children: LizN’Bow at CunsthausMiami-based artists and children’s rights activists Liz Ferrer and Bow Tie, who work collectively as LizN’Bow, have made it their mission to introduce new media art — which includes digital art and video — to ki...
Updated one month ago
Three new shows open at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts this week and Art Festival Beth-El returns

Three new shows open at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts this week and Art Festival Beth-El returns

Triple Threat: New Exhibits at FMoPAThe Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa is coming out swinging in 2018, with three excellent exhibitions opening Friday. The Family Acid are actor, author and reggae archivist Roger Steffens’ photographs o...
Updated one month ago
How to make your own Gasparilla wreath

How to make your own Gasparilla wreath

The denizens of South Tampa sometimes refer to this time of year as Christmas-arilla, extending the life of Christmas decorations. With just a slightly sinister twist, trimmings are repurposed for Gasparilla and the parade of pirates that will wash a...
Updated one month ago
Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

ST. PETERSBURGThe bay area’s thriving glass art scene adds another member to its ranks today when the Imagine Museum officially opens in downtown St. Petersburg.Dedicated to the movement of studio glass, the museum is the brainchild of benefactor Tri...
Updated one month ago