An Exploration of Resilience and Resistance: Kin

An Exploration of Resilience and Resistance: Kin

1492/1619 American Aftermaths Grant

Kali Spitzer, 2022 Winner

Through the timeless lens of tintype photography and in collaboration with the sitters, An Exploration of Resilience and Resistance: Kin, will document modern Indigenous identity, community and resiliency. I am part of a generation that is hugely affected by settler colonialism, this land’s histories and residential schools (boarding schools). Indigenous existence and resistance today, is the aftermath of 1492.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Be and Madeline, child and mother pictured in a loving embrace, Ancestral and Unceded Lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples (Vancouver, BC, Canada), 2020

 

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Cara Romero, Chemehuevi from California.

 

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Glenn Gear, Inuit, Nunatsiavut region

filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist

Made 2018, Traditional Territories of the Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot and Tsuu T’ina

 

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Holland Andrews, healer, vocalist, sound artist

Made 2018, Traditional Territories of the Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot and Tsuu T’ina.

 

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Emerencz Merkle. visual artist, pleasure worker, and sound artist. Cree from Chapleau Cree First Nation, Croatian, Hungarian, and English Settler.

 

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens

Sasha taqsweblu” LaPointe, Coast Salish,Nooksack Tribe, Nooksack/Upper Skagit Washington, USA

 

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Brianna Olson Pitawanakwat/ Waasezi Niimda Nongoons kwe (shining dancing star woman) is an Indigenous Birthworker, Jingle Dress Dancer, and Artisan from Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation. She currently serves as co founder of Native Arts society and co lead of Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction. Nanook Gordon/Waabshki Miungun (White Wolf) is an Indigiqueer Inuvialuk from Inuvik, NWT. Founder of Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction and Cofounder of Native Arts Society.

 

Scan of original 8x10 wet plate collodion (tintype), made on aluminum. Shot on Deardorff 8x10 Studio camera with century old brass portrait lens.

Photographer's Statement: 

1492 was the beginning of a long history of assimilation intending to terminate the cultural, social, economic and political distinctness of our peoples into mainstream so called Canadian/American life and values, to “kill the Indian and save the man.” Indigenous cultures were outlawed, relationships banned and broken, children stolen and ripped away from their families and homelands. I, like many people of my generation, have lost so much of our culture and traditional ways because of this history. We have never stopped fighting to get it back.

 

An Exploration of Resilience and Resistance is an ongoing project that began in 2014. This portrait project is about identity, culture, strength, vulnerability, and love. I photograph my community of primarily Indigenous and mixed heritage people to illuminate our stories. With the work, I touch on how we can become more empathic, empowered people despite the hardships that we have endured. Every photograph, every person, has a story to tell, and I am supporting them to tell these stories through their portrait. I invite the viewer to recognize the different sides of these stories, including the pain but most of all, the person’s spirit and perseverance.

 

Kin will be an extension and expansion of this project. Indigenous relationships, the creation of a chosen family, the connection to blood family, Kin is an act of defiance pushing back against our ongoing genocide. These relationships and healing are so important as we now navigate the continued injustices and lateral violence this legacy has left us. The simple act of being able to hold our loved one’s hand or embrace our kin is a human right that we were not always afforded. As the daughter of a residential school survivor, I hear my father and family speak about not being able to even talk to their siblings, I hear stories of brutal sexual, physical and emotional abuse, I like many others endure the aftermath of this. In one generation we went from our love and culture being illegal and beaten out of us, to today where I can sit here and witness my kin embrace in an act of love. These connections to each other open the doors for healing and cultural preservation.

 

An Exploration of Resilience and Resistance: Kin will represent and celebrate indigenous connection. I hope to create a safe space for people to share their histories in a pursuit of healing colonial wounds. I believe that healing begins through collective witnessing, understanding and connection between Indigenous people in their collective grief. Decolonial love is connection, whether that be to spirit, the land or each other. The story(ies) depicted in this series are an act of perseverance, growth and resistance, one that should be given the space to be witnessed, held and celebrated. I want to show the general public who we are today; to bring light to our stories and create a space for us to be seen and heard as we define ourselves and make it clear how we want to be represented. This is the driving force behind An Exploration of Resilience and Resistance; the relationship between the process of creation and the person being photographed records our current experiences and honors our resilience.

 

Many of our relatives were and continue to be inappropriately photographed and misrepresented. Historically photography has been a violent and oppressive tool that has led to the misrepresentation of BIPOC and communities. I am working to redress this by creating contemporary images of Indigenous peoples from an Indigenous perspective. Part of this perspective is to move away from the concept that a photographer “takes an image,” and shift toward a more collaborative approach of photographer and sitter making an image together. Small steps like this are part of healing the colonial history of photography.

 

 

 

Kali Spitzer
kali.spitzer's picture
Kali
Spitzer

Kali Spitzer is a photographer living on the traditional unceded lands of the Tsleil-Waututh, Skxwú7mesh and Musqueam peoples. The work of Kali embraces the stories of contemporary queer and trans bodies and BIPOC, creating representation that is self determined. Kali’s collaborative process is informed by the desire to rewrite the visual histories of indigenous bodies beyond a colonial lens. Kali is Kaska Dena from Daylu (Lower Post, British Columbia) on her father’s side and Jewish from Transylvania, Romania on her mother’s side. Kali’s heritage deeply influences her work as she focuses on cultural revitalization through her art, whether in the medium of photography, ceramics, tanning hides or hunting.

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