By Kim Kalliber; photos by Matika Wilbur
SEATTLE, Washington – Photography can have such an impact on our lives. Discovering nature’s beauty and exploring new cultures and opening minds to new ideas, these concepts are all found in the work of Matika Wilbur. Her emotionally complex photographs examine how Native people face cultural dualities and the connection between their culture and contemporary pop culture.
Matika is from the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes. Her work has been shown in regional, national and international venues, such as the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Seattle Art Museum and the Burke Museum.
Now you can find Matika’s latest project on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter is an online site full of independent, ambitious and imaginative projects that are brought to life through direct support of others.
Matika’s project on Kickstarter, 562 A Photo Project Documenting Native America, is currently accepting donations. The goal is to create a publication, exhibition, and lecture series documenting all 562 Tribes in the United States, although the ultimate goal is education. Matika will be traveling the United States in a photo studio equipped RV, paying a visit to all 52 states, and all 562 Federally Recognized Tribes. She will be using these donations for travel expenses, film and darkroom supplies and website development.
“I am so excited about my upcoming journey,” said Matika. “I feel as though all of the work that I have done up until this point has prepared me for a project of this magnitude.”
Matika goes on to describe events in her life that led her to explore Native cultures through the camera lens.
“When I was 17 years old I got sober, and have remained sober for the last 11 years and it was because of this experience that I had the courage to pursue higher education at The Brooks Institute of Photography. After I graduated, I took my first internship with Round Earth Productions photographing indigenous people in South America, where I realized that I hadn’t ever photographed my own people – so I came home, and began ‘We Are One People,’ a series of character study portraits documenting Coast Salish Elders. ‘We Are One People’ hangs in the Tulalip Admin Building, and has been shown at several museums. The success of ‘We Are One People’ catapulted my career into projects that explore our “indian-ness.”
“All of those experiences led me back to Tulalip Heritage High School to teach photography, where I learned so much working with our youth, and really had the opportunity to re-connect,” Matika continued. “I didn’t realize that all of that travel, exhibition and teaching would lead me to this- but I’m glad that it did. I’m so grateful for all of the support that I’ve received from my family and friends, I feel so blessed.”
Funding levels vary on Kickstarter and each pledge level offers the backers specific items in return. For instance, with a pledge of $10 or more, backers will receive a digital copy of the “562” book, while a pledge of $2,500 or more will entitle backers to join Matika on the road for two days as she explores Indian Country, along with receiving the awards offered at the $1,000 level.
Matika will be having an “End of Kickstarter” bash on October 28th in Seattle, with live music performed by Kore Ionz and Bakra Bata. Visit www.matikawilbur.com for more information and location of this event.
This project will only be funded if at least $30,000 is pledged on Kickstarter by Novemer 1st. For information and to become a backer, visit www.kickstarter.com and enter 562 under “search projects.”
For more information on Matika Wilbur, visit www.matikawilbur.com.