Marking the 150th anniversary of Edward Curtis’s birth, By Her Hand: Native American Women, Their Art, and the Photographs of Edward S. Curtis features Curtis’s photographs of Native women and the art they created from the Christopher G. Cardozo Collection. The High Desert Museum will also include historical and contemporary works of art created by Native artists from our permanent collection to broaden this story.
Curtis’s legacy is a complicated one. He left us with thousands of photographs and recordings of Native people that otherwise would not exist. But he also brought the biases of his era to the project, photographing American Indians as a “vanishing race”—a stereotype that continues to negatively affect Native people’s lives. By highlighting works of art created by Native women alongside Curtis’s photographs, this exhibition celebrates Indigenous artistic traditions that have existed for centuries and continue to thrive within Native communities today.