Indigenous Culture Celebrated in Summer Exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum

The photography exhibition “In Conversation: Will Wilson” will be paired with a pow wow and storytelling event.

Opening July 9 at the Delaware Art Museum, “In Conversation: Will Wilson” explores issues of Indigenous representation within the history of photography through the work of Diné (Navajo) photographer Will Wilson (b. 1969). A pow wow and storytelling event at the Museum are planned with the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, Nanticoke Indian Association, and local Indigenous community members.

“Will Wilson’s photographs represent a meaningful shift in the way Indigenous communities are represented in museum spaces,” shares guest curator Kaila Schedeen. “Wilson’s work provides the platform for individuals to represent themselves as they want to be seen, while also shifting the conversation of contemporary Indigenous representation towards exchange, mutual respect, and relationship-building.”

Wilson’s work explores the legacy of historical photographs on the representation of Native peoples in North America. Through the artist’s ongoing Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange (CIPX) project, Wilson combines historic wet plate (tintype) photography with 21st-century Augmented Reality (AR) technology in a convenient app to bring his “Talking Tintype” photographs to life. Through the CIPX images, Wilson facilitates new conversations about Indigeneity that emphasize a reciprocal relationship with the sitters. Wilson visited Delaware in May to photograph members of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware and the Nanticoke Indian Association. Their portraits will be included in the exhibition at DelArt this summer and later at the Nanticoke Indian Museum.

“We are grateful to the committee of advisors who guided the presentation of this important exhibition and participated in the Critical Indigenous Photography Exchange,” says Community Engagement Specialist Iz Balleto. “We invite everyone to visit the exhibition at DelArt, celebrate Indigenous culture at the July 23 Pow Wow of Arts & Culture, and hear community members’ stories at the My Land, My Roots event on September 8.”

In Conversation: Will Wilson is complemented by an exhibit by local photographer Andre’ L. Wright, Jr., Indigenous Faces of Wilmington, in the Museum’s Orientation Hall. Both shows are on view through September 8. The national tour of In Conversation: Will Wilson is supported by the Art Bridges Foundation.

IF YOU GO:

What: In Conversation: Will Wilson photography exhibition
When: Exhibition on view July 9– September 11, 2022
Pow Wow of Arts & Culture on Saturday, July 23
My Land, My Roots on Thursday evening, September 8.
Where: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19806
Cost: Free with Museum admission
Info: delart.org

Organizers & Sponsors:

The exhibition was curated by Mindy Besaw, Curator of American Art/Director of Fellowships & Research from Crystal Bridges, and Ashley Holland, Associate Curator from the Art Bridges Foundation. In Conversation: Will Wilson is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In Delaware, the exhibition is guest curated by Kaila T. Schedeen, PhD Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin.

Generous support provided by Art Bridges. Additional support provided by the Emily du Pont Exhibition Fund. The Museum is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

DelArt thanks the members of our advisory committee for their critical input in shaping this exhibition and its programs: Principal Chief Dennis Coker (Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware); Chief Natosha Carmine (Nanticoke Indian Association of Delaware); India Colon Diaz (Taína of Boriken Nation of PR); Sherri Evans-Stanton; RuthAnn Purchase; Adrienne Lalli Hills, Independent Museum Consultant (Wyandotte Nation); Gabe Joseph Rosales; Jea Street, Jr.(Nanticoke); Victoria Sunnergren.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the most comprehensive Pre-Raphaelite collection on display outside of the United Kingdom, and a growing collection of significant contemporary art.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit delart.org to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

Image: Will Wilson (born 1969). How the West is One, 2014, printed 2016. Archival pigment print from wet plate collodion scan, 24 × 36 inches. Collection of the artist. Artwork © Will Wilson Art & Photo, LLC.