Thursday, September 10, 6:30 p.m.
Presented by the Figge Art Museum
Held in conjunction with the current exhibition Magnetic West: The Enduring Allure of the American West, a special Virtual Artist Talk with internationally renowned photographer Cara Romero will take place on September 10, an event that will find the member of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe discussing her photographic practice and answering viewer questions at evening's end.
A contemporary fine-art photographer, Romero was raised between contrasting settings: the rural Chemehuevi reservation in Mojave Desert, California, and the urban sprawl of Houston, Texas. Romero’s identity informs her photography, a blend of fine art and editorial photography, shaped by years of study and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences from a Native American female perspective.
As an undergraduate at the University of Houston, Romero pursued a degree in cultural anthropology. Disillusioned, however, by academic and media portrayals of Native Americans as bygone, Romero realized that making photographs could do more than anthropology did in words, a realization that led to a shift in medium. Since 1998, Romero’s expansive oeuvre has been informed by formal training in film, digital, fine art and commercial photography. By staging theatrical compositions infused with dramatic color, Romero takes on the role of storyteller, using contemporary photography techniques to depict the modernity of Native peoples, illuminating Indigenous worldviews and aspects of supernaturalism in everyday life.
Maintaining a studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Romero regularly participates in Native American art fairs and panel discussions, and was featured in PBS’ Craft in America. Her award-winning work is included in many public and private collections internationally. Married with three children, she travels between Santa Fe and the Chemehuevi Valley Indian Reservation, where she maintains close ties to her tribal community and ancestral homelands. As Romero explains in her artist statement at CaraRomeroPhotography.com, “As an Indigenous photographer, I embrace photography as my tool to resist Euro-centric narratives and as a means for opening audiences’ perspectives to the fascinating diversity of living Indigenous peoples. 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.”
The Virtual Artist Talk with Cara Romero is free, but advance registration is required, and participants will receive an e-mail with a Zoom link two hours before the program begins at 6:30 p.m. on September 10. Magnetic West: The Enduring Allure of the American West itself will be on display through September 20, and more information on both the exhibit and its companion event is available by visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.