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Edward Sheriff Curtis – the Photographer of Native Americans

Start date 2017-09-08
Ending date 2017-09-30
Location Zaułek Hartwigów, Lublin
Organizer Warsztaty Kultury w Lublinie
Participation for free

In September, Photography Studio of the Workshops of Culture in Lublin invites you to an exhibition of photographs by Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) who focused on documenting the lives of Native Americans. A keeper of the memory of traditional Native American culture, he undertook, against numerous odds, a titanic and steadfast work that has resulted in one of the most important documents in the history of photography. 

Edward Curtis was involved in photography since early youth. In 1895, he took a series of photographs of the eldest daughter of the famous Duwamish chief Seattle whose name was given to the city Curtis settled in. At the time when the photographs were taken, the woman was over 70 years old. Carefully developed prints brought him an award at one of the contests. The author did not realize that these photographs would start a completely new chapter in his career and assure him a permanent place in the history of photography. In 1898, he took part in a research expedition to Mount Rainer. It was then that he became fascinated with Native American culture. He came to understand that the traditional way of life of Native Americans was irrevocably coming to an end.  To get the public interested in the life and legacy of Native Americans, Curtis published and exhibited photographs from his expeditions. He also wrote articles. He travelled across all areas inhabited by Native Americans, from Alaska to Mexico. In total, he took over 40,000 photographs and the material was subsequently published in a 20-volume publication, The North American Indian, including photographs, drawings, maps and detailed descriptions of individual tribes, their customs and most important figures. Curtis went through many financial difficulties, including bankruptcy. This and many other problems did not crush Curtis. He kept falling and rising again to finish his life’s work. Thanks to his enormous effort, we have a chance to see a portrayal of a declining culture that completely disappeared in its original form in the 20th century. 

The Lublin exhibition of photography by Edward Sheriff Curtis features works from the collections of the Library of Congress of the United States of America.

On 7 September,  the day of the official opening of the exhibition, we will hold a presentation about the life and work of Edward Curtis.  

  • Opening: 7 September, 5 PM, Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a, Lublin      
  • Exhibition open until 30 September 2017
  • Venue: the Hartwigs Alley, Lublin

The event is free.

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