Rise reflects upon the ongoing subtle fear of indigenous people in the United States. Fear, in this instance, may come from acknowledging our presence, not as an extinct people, but as sovereign nations who have witnessed and endured the process of colonization for hundreds of years and remain oppressed.
This series reflects upon the inherent fear that one day oppressed groups may rise and defend themselves. As an indigenous tribal member who has observed the aftermath of colonization and followed my curiosity about the story of survival, especially as a member of a Federally Recognized tribe east of the Mississippi, Rise approaches the concept of a future Native American uprising from a complicated perspective of military and land deed neutrality, cultural assimilation, and as a people hiding in plain sight.
With the rise of the zombie motif in popular culture, the zombie may be interpreted as the great celebratory enemy, replacing the American Indian. Thus, Rise appropriates the aesthetic and concept of zombie apocalypse by replacing the gory zombie figure with the American Indian, whose simple presence causes terror.
The images in this portfolio reflect my interpretation of an imagined future uprising based on the aftermath of colonization, steeped in both the popular imagination of non-indigenous people and the repressed desires of Native Communities to one day retake their territory. In the end, my personal belief is that Americans and Native Americans will never have another great war, but the fear nonetheless exists and this project confronts it by mixing the fear with humor once realized.
Rise was originally conceived after reading a lecture transcription by MIT Professor Noam Chomsky found here https://www.rawstory.com/2014/02/noam-chomsky-zombies-are-the-new-indian...
Jeremy Dennis (b. 1990) is a contemporary fine art photographer and a tribal member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton, NY. In his work, he explores indigenous identity, culture, and assimilation.
Dennis was one of 10 recipients of a 2016 Dreamstarter Grant from the national non-profit organization Running Strong for American Indian Youth. He was awarded $10,000 to pursue his project, On This Site, which uses photography and an interactive online map to showcase culturally significant Native American sites on Long Island, a topic of special meaning for Dennis, who was raised on the Shinnecock Nation Reservation. He also created a book and exhibition from this project. Most recently, Dennis received the Creative Bursar Award from Getty Images in 2018 to continue his series Stories.
In 2013, Dennis began working on the series, Stories—Indigenous Oral Stories, Dreams and Myths. Inspired by North American indigenous stories, the artist staged supernatural images that transform these myths and legends to depictions of an actual experience in a photograph.
Dennis holds an MFA from Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, and a BA in Studio Art from Stony Brook University, NY. He currently lives and works in Southampton, New York on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.