but your heart determines what you see. Whatever you are looking for, you will find.
This past week I had the opportunity to go to an art gallery with some fellow students. It was part of an assignment from class where we visited several local galleries to get an idea of what type of art was where.
After three or four galleries, I stumbled into a place that had crisp white walls and framed images on the wall. A few photos were set up in light boxes.
I was mesmerized.
Her headdress was created with feathers and sat on her head like a crown. There was white paint around the outside of her face, but wide eyes, round nose and full perfect lips reflected her natural beauty. Dignified. Fearful. Elegant. Mistica Wonuk of the Sasap Wigum Tribe is the image of a woman in tribal dress on fabric over a lightbox frame by Chicago photographer Sandro Miller in the exhibition I am Papua New Guinea at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, Illinois from September 6 to November 9.
The gallery was filled with images indigenous people from Papua New Guinuea in tribal wardrobe. I saw proud people of color in portraits, while many of my fellow students saw people being taken advantage of. They wanted to see these people in their natural surrounding, not in a photo studio. One young woman went on a tirade for 30 minutes about how unfair this was.
They could only see what they perceived as injustice.
I saw something I had not seen before in those images. I was introduced to a group of people and their customs.
Here’s the rub. Even though many of the students were indignant because a white man used his skills to document the life of indigenous people in the way he knew best, he still did more to tell the story of a dying people than the offended students.
Don’t tell me what you think. Show me what you believe. Moving your hands and feet preaches a better sermon than alligator tears.