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For a Love of His People, The Photography of Horace Poolaw

November 2016–June 2017
NMAI: Washington, DC

August 9, 2014 - February 15, 2015
NMAI: 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, 1906-1984), 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 will open at the George Gustav Heye Center Smithsonian's 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 Poolaw's 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 museum's West Gallery.

Spanning some 50 years of life on the Southern Plains of Oklahoma (1920s-1960s), Poolaw's 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 nation's 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 Poolaw's life and interpreting the significance of his photographic legacy.

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian
For a Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw
August 9, 2014 - February 15, 2015
New York, NY
Go to National Museum of the American Indian website

Yale University Press catalogue: Yale Press website

New York Times article by Holland Cotter. January 8, 2015: Going Mainstream on Their Own Terms: Photographs by Horace Poolaw at National Museum of the American Indian