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


Posted By Toyacoyah Brown August 13th, 2014 Blog

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

I'm absolutely in love with these photos. One of the best presents I've gotten in the past several years were old black and white photos of my grandpa and his parents living in Oklahoma's dust bowl era, so these photos by Horace Poolaw really speak to me.

Horace Poolaw (Kiowa, 1906–1984), through black-and-white images, documented the Native people of rural Oklahoma with affection while providing insight into the values and community life of his time. In a new exhibit at the George Gustav Heye Center Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the curators hope to give a glimpse of Native life in 20th-century Oklahoma.

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).

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

© 2014 Estate of Horace Poolaw

The exhibit runs August 09, 2014 through February 15, 2015, so plenty of time to plan a visit! The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York is located at One Bowling Green in New York City, across from Battery Park. The museum is free and open every day (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. For information, call 212-514-3700 or visit www.AmericanIndian.si.edu.

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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