75 years dog image
Image by Matika Wilbur for Project 562

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Photographic Presence and Contemporary Indians:
Matika Wilbur's Project 562

Opens May 17, 2014



Washington photographer Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish Tribes) is on a journey with Project 562 to build cultural bridges, abandon stereotypes, and renew and inspire our national legacy by documenting people from every federally recognized indigenous nation in the United States. 

Tacoma Art Museum is honored to present an inaugural exhibition of work from Project 562 this May in Photographic Presence and Contemporary Indians: Matika Wilbur's Project 562. The exhibition will feature 40 Native American portraits accompanied by sitrring audio narratives from select sitters.

Wilbur began her project in the Northwest and has traveled more than 60,000 miles around the Western United States to record the narratives and images for Project 562. She has been welcomed into rare experiences, capturing images and voices that have never before been represented.

Wilbur’s provocative work exposes the tenacity and richness of contemporary Native life, and seeks to encourage a shift in consciousness toward Native Americans. What is revealed of Native America in these portraits? What consciousness unfolds from the many stories of the sitters?

“It is said that history is dead, and that nature can’t really speak. Viewers of this collection are challenged on those premises. For predominant society, Indians occupy a silent and isolated, covered over, virtually extinct existence, part of the grievous though inevitable eradication of ‘manifest destiny’, and which most abandon to history. But Native America is utterly enduring, alive, and thriving as part of the core concept and reality of America,” says Wilbur.

Wilbur's work on Project 562 has been featured in Seattle Magazine, The Stranger, NBC, CNN, Huffington Post, Upworthy.com, Indian Country Today, and more.

Organized by Tacoma Art Museum. This exhibition was generously sponsored by ArtsFund, KeyBank, and Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund. Additional support provided by Helen and Peter Bing.


Meet the Artist!

Meet Northwest Artist Matika Wilbur

Artist Lecture: Matika Wilbur
Saturday, May 17, 4 pm
Internationally renowned artist Matika Wilbur shares the intent behind her photographs and the purpose of her most recent works in Project 562, which delve into cultural identity and heritage. Learn about her work, the people she’s meeting, and the journey she’s taking while capturing the many cultures of Native Americans. Cost: $15 ($10 for members, $5 for students) tickets

Members' Opening Celebration
Saturday, May 17, 6–9 pm

Matika Wilbur’s Project 562 with Curator Rock Hushka
Friday, May 23, 11 am

Learn the importance of bringing Matika Wilbur’s Project 562 to Tacoma Art Museum and about the artist’s process in tackling contemporary Native American issues. Cost: Free with museum admission

  About Project 562


More to Explore

Matika Wilbur's photography website.

Matika Wilbur's Project 562 travel blog and video Road Stories.

Matika Wilbur's Project 562 Kickstarter Campaign.

In the  News:

Rejecting Stereotypes, Photographing 'Real' Indians by Whitney Richardson, The New York Times-LENS, February 19, 2014.

It's Been Over 100 Years Since an Artist has Done This in America. It's about Time Someone Did It Again by Joseph Lamour, Upworthy.com, February 8, 2014. 

One Artists Mission to Photograph Every Native American Tribe in the US by Carrie Dunne, FastCompany.com, February 3, 2014.

Shooting and Capturing: Matika Wilbur's Fight Against a Hundred Years of Native American Photography by Jen Graves, Staff Writer, The Stranger, December 4, 2013.

Native American Travels Across U.S. Photographing Citizens of Tribal Nations by Simon Moya-Smith, Staff Writer, NBC News, November 23, 2013.

Photographer Matika Wilbur's Three-Year, 562-Tribe Adventure by Richard Walker, Indian Country Today, January 15, 2013.

  Above: Matika Wilbur, Self Portrait (Tribal Affiliation: Swinomish and Tulalip).
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