NEW YORK, NY.-
For a Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw is a retrospective exhibition of works by photographer Horace Poolaw (Kiowa, 19061984), whose black-and-white images document Native people of rural Oklahoma with affection while providing insight into the values and community life of his time. The exhibition opened at the George Gustav Heye Center Smithsonians National Museum of the American Indian
in New York, Saturday, Aug 9. Through the themes of portraiture, community, family, military and performance, the exhibition gives a glimpse of Native life in 20th-century Oklahoma. The exhibition includes 81 photographs; 10 vintage postcards; and Poolaws camera, the Speed Graphic, manufactured by Graflex in the 1940s. For a Love of His People will be on view through Sunday, Feb. 15, in the museums West Gallery.
Spanning some 50 years of life on the Southern Plains of Oklahoma (1920s1960s), Poolaws photographs reveal the warmth of local family and community while also demonstrating the mobility and involvement of Native peoples nationally in events such as World War II and the advent of consumerism. Poolaw demonstrates the contemporaneous presence of American Indian communities in all aspects of American life as full participants in the nations history and character. He also showcases regional cultural events, such as the American Indian Exposition in Anadarko, Okla.
The exhibition was curated by Tom Jones (Ho-Chunk) and Nancy Marie Mithlo (Chiricahua Apache).
The accompanying exhibition catalog, For a Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw, edited by Mithlo, features 16 essays from scholars, photographers and family members, sharing stories of Poolaws life and interpreting the significance of his photographic legacy. The visual 184-page book will be available in Smithsonian museum stores and through the Bookshop section of the museums website at http://nmai.si.edu/store/.
A day of programs on the photographs and life of Poolaw will take place at the museum Saturday, Nov. 22, with participation by the photographers daughter Linda Poolaw and art historian Laura Smith. The events will be free and include a book signing.