#followfriday - 4 Indigenous Photographers to Follow
By Erin Blondeau
Art has the power to change the world because it can evoke emotions. Art can come in many different forms, and one form in particular captures the raw essence and beauty of life in an instant. For this week’s #followfriday, we bring to you four incredibly talented Indigenous photographers from around the world who leave us feeling inspired and connected. Hit the follow and like button on these Indigenous artists, and share this article to spread the word.
Born in Montréal, Katharine Takpannie lives in Ottawa, with her family hailing from Apex Hill, in Nunavut. She is an urban Inuk photographer, with a mission to show what it's like to live an urban Inuit life. Her Instagram artfully highlights the familiar faces of Mumilaaq Qaqqaq and Autumn Peltier. Her website describes a unique program that she graduated from that focussed on Inuit life and history in Nunavut.
This education and passion comes through in her photography, showcasing political movements and Indigenous activism. Raw emotions of togetherness, anger, becoming, fearlessness, sensuality, and nature can be felt through her art. Katherine’s work has been featured in many exhibits, including Enchanted (Olga Korper Gallery), Vectors of Transmission (Art Gallery of Guelph), She Has Something To Say (Olga Korper Gallery), Napaaqtulik (Forest) (Corridor 45|75), Starting Over... Again, all in just 2021!
We recommend visiting her Instagram and experiencing powerful political messages she captures.
connect with Katherine Takpannie
Nadya is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) from the Animakee Wa Zhing #37 First Nation in northwestern Ontario. She disrupts the typical narrative of Indigeneity through award-winning photography. She is the founder of Red Works Photography and travels across Canada and the United States, to capture Indigenous stories from coast to coast. Her project, Concrete Indians, breaks the stereotypes of what it means to be Indigenous and living in a city.
“It's essentially a series about decolonization, photographing sense of belonging and basically asks the question what does it mean and what does it look like to be Indigenous in the city,” she stated in an interview with CBC.
Her Instagram is a sea of skillfully curated black and white images with pops of colour; the simplistic feed allows for imagination and a connection to her personal style. In an article to Canon, she explained that images of Indigenous people often depict pain, suffering, and stereotypes, which is exactly what she set out to combat.
Nadya is currently offering a 2-hour portrait session to raise money for victims of the wildfire that destroyed the village of Lytton, BC. Bids end around August 8, 2021.
connect with Nadya Kwandibens
Born in Quito, Ecuador, Eli is an artist and photographer raised in Ottawa. She went to university in Toronto, and is currently located in New York City, on Munsee Lenape territory. Having won multiple awards, her work has been showcased across Canada including Banff Centre for the Arts and Toronto Media Arts Centre.
Eli’s art is often focussed on healing, whether that be self-healing or the healing experienced by others. Her abstract photographic style evokes intrigue and mysteriousness that makes me want to adventure in a forest where I’ve never been and swim fearlessly in the ocean at midnight.
In an interview (translated to English) with L'America Latina, Eli explains her personal intersection of photography and decolonization.
“Resistance and healing are also two themes that go together, because for me it is important to think that while we resist we are also healing ourselves, imagining new ways of being, because historically we have been resisting for more than 500 years, even if I believe it is limiting to think of resistance only as a way of life continuously under pressure.”
According to her website, Eli is based between New York City, Toronto, and Ecuador, and is available for projects across the globe.
connect with Eli Farinango
Cara knows what it's like to straddle two contrasting words, and that juxtaposition is an inspiration for her photography. She is a citizen of Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, located in the Mojave Desert, California. She grew up there and in Houston, Texas.
Her photography is a mix between fine art and portraiture, shining a light on the perspective of the Native American woman which is often darkened by the legacy of colonization. Her striking photos immediately caught my eye and my sense of joy, as I studied the imagery of Indigenous children reclaiming their ancestral land. Her photography is creatively staged to tell important stories about the First Peoples who, in contrast to what many non-Indigenous people believe, are not extinct––but are still alive and strong.
As she describes on her website, “My approach fuses time-honored and culturally specific symbols with 21st-century ideas. This strategy reinforces the ways we exist as contemporary Native Americans, all the while affirming that Indigenous culture is continually evolving and imminently permanent.”
Her website shows that she is the winner of 18 awards, and has been featured in publications like National Geographic and Los Angeleno. Check out her Instagram to stay up to date with her latest exhibits and projects.
connect with Cara Romero