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Native American photo exhibit opens in Baku

17 May 2018 [16:19] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

“Identity Beyond the Frame: The Photography of Edward Curtis” exhibition solemnly opened in Baku on May 17.

An exhibition organized by the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan featuring 52 works of American photographer Edward Curtis is being held at the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum. 

The event was attended by prominent public figures, representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in the country, famous figures of culture and art, representatives of creative youth.

In her opening speech, museum's director Shirin Melikova stressed that the exposition includes more than 50 photographs of the American photographer Edward Curtis. She noted that the exhibition guests can see wonderful shots about the life of North American Indians and learn more about their way of life, culture, rituals, ritual dances, etc.

"Each photo of Edward Curtis is a work of art that takes the viewer to another space, opens a new world," Melikova said.

Stressing that Curtis's works have been previously demonstrated with great success in Tbilisi, the museum director expressed gratitude to the event organizers for the opportunity to present the works of the famous American photographer in Baku .

William Gill, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Baku expressed his gratitude to the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum and the exhibition curator Amina Melikova for her assistance in holding the event.

William Gil informed the audience about the life and work of the photographer.

"We are privileged to bring the extraordinary photography of Edward Curtis to Azerbaijan, especially in this 150th anniversary year of his birth. Born in Wisconsin, Curtis was a self-taught photographer who even made his own camera. Between 1900 and 1930, Curtis traveled across the North American continent. He photographed more than 80 Native American tribes, producing tens of thousands of photographs and sound recordings, and over half a million words of text. He poured this work of a lifetime into his 20-volume masterpiece on Native Americans, which is still renowned and treasured today", he said.

Gill stressed that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. "Both Azerbaijan and the United States know that preserving our history in all of its variety allows us to see and understand where we have come from and where we want to go as a society. As President Woodrow Wilson did 100 years ago, we applaud the ideals that made the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic a progressive leader of its time. So, it is in that spirit, as Azerbaijan pays tribute to that inspiring achievement, we share a piece of our own past with you. The sometimes difficult lessons of that past ultimately show us a way forward to building a stronger, better, more just society", he said.

The exhibition curator Amina Melikova said that Edward Curtis left the greatest legacy in the photographs about the life of the American Indians.

"Identity Beyond the Frame: The Photography of Edward Curtis" exhibition  aroused great interest amongst the visitors.

The exhibition is will last until May 22. Admission is free.

Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) was an American photographer and ethnologist.

He occupies a unique place in American cultural history, as he became the principal storyteller of the Native American peoples and cultures.

At the age of 17, Curtis became an apprentice photographer in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1887 the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where he purchased a new camera and became a partner with Rasmus Rothi in an existing photographic studio.

The result was Curtis’ 20-volume masterpiece on Native Americans, which is still renowned today as a visual history of an important chapter in American life.


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