75 years dog image
Image by Matika Wilbur for Project 562

Project 562's Logo

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

May 17
–October 5, 2014




JP Morgan Chase









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 stirring audio narratives from select sitters.

Wilbur began her project in the Northwest and has traveled more than 80,000 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?

Exhibition Audio Guide

Delve deeper into the stories behind the pictures. Listen to excerpts from interviews that Matika Wilbur has recorded with Project 562 participants throughout her journey. Click here to listen to and download the audio guide. 

Related Programs and Events

Sven Haakanson presents Repatriating Artwork in Museums
Saturday, September 20, 2 pm
Sven Haakanson, associate professor at University of Washington, discusses efforts in repatriating art in museums across the globe. Get informed about current progress and challenges on this topic. Cost: $15 ($10 member, $5 student) Tickets

Lunch & Learn with Artist Marita Dingus
Wednesday, October 1, 11 am
Enjoy your lunch while learning about the exciting work of artist Marita Dingus! Dingus will discuss her African American heritage and how it inspires her artwork. She’ll talk about the use of found materials in her art. View her work in the exhibition Northwest in the West: Exploring our Roots. A question and answer session will follow her talk. Cost: Free with museum admission.

Past Programs and Events

Artist Lecture: Matika Wilbur
Saturday, May 17, 4 pm

(This lecture was SOLD OUT as of Wednesday, May 14.)

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)

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

(This opening celebration was SOLD OUT as of Friday, May 16, 11:45 am.) Meet artist Matika Wilbur and celebrate the inaugural exhibition of her remarkable Project 562.

The celebration began with a sharing of songs and stories, and a blessing by Connie McCloud (Puyallup) and members of the Puyallup Canoe Family.

Sky and Talon Duncan (Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation and San Carlos Apache Tribe) will shared their world champion hoop dance.

Tony Collins, Anthony Thosh Collins, and Amson Collins (Salt River Pima-Maricopa) shared songs from Onk Akimel O’Odham.

Bethany Yellowtail for Project 562 released elements couture fashion designs.

Please enjoy photographs from the opening celebration courtesy of Treothe Joseph Bullock. © Treothe Joseph Bullock and treeoathe.wordpress.com, 2002–2014.

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



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:

Tulalip Woman's Photography Project of U.S. Tribes on Display in Tacoma by Staff Writer Gail Fiege, HeraldNet.com, May 22, 2014.

"What Does it Mean to be American Indian?" Asks Photographer Matika Wilbur by Rae Ellen Bichell, KPLU 88.5 a National Public Radio Station, Friday, May 16, 2014.  

Photographer Matika Wilbur is on the Road Trip of a Lifetime by Florangela Davila, Crosscut.com, May 14, 2014.

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, Darkfeather, Bibiana and Eckos Ancheta from Tulalip, WA, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.



  Organized by Tacoma Art Museum.

This exhibition was generously sponsored by ArtsFund, JPMorgan Chase, The Puyallup Tribe of Indians, KeyBank, Russell Investments, Snoqualmie Tribe, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, and Port Madison Enterprises. Additional support provided by Helen and Peter Bing.

Support for Project 562 provided by Project 562 Kickstarter supporters, Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, and The Potlatch Fund.

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