Edward Curtis - Beyond Measure

From May 24 to November 18, 2012

Photograph of the exhibition: Edward Curtis - Beyond Measure

Photos of This Gallery


Shadow Catcher

Edward Sheriff Curtis roamed our lands, followed in our footsteps, learned our languages, and underwent some of our initiation rituals so that we adopted him.

This artist sought to encapsulate our collective memory through the 40,000 images that his camera recorded.

The Elders Called Curtis the Shadow Catcher.

His photography includes many contrived portraits which had such impact that they created the stereotype of the aquiline Indian as the whiteman's opposite.

His breathtaking landscapes also set the stage for Hollywood's dualistic ''Cowboys and Indians.''

Yet the Key to His Work Lies Elsewhere.

As a native Tsie8ei, Wendat (Huron) who values art, I heartily encourage you to see, discuss, and reinterpret this vivid cross section of the photographic project beyond measure that Curtis undertook, especially since this marks its first showing in Hochelaga/Montreal.

His art owes its breadth of vision to the contours of the Amerindian worldview. In this vein Curtis presents : spectacular vistas of native encampments, furrowed faces, bands of mounted warriors, children all wrapped up for a portage, basketry that stylized women's know-how, and the rites of medecine men.

Sporting headdresses while bedecked in fine embroidery and exquisite beadwork, these peoples' proud poses hark back to time immemorial. Although they evoke an internalized exodus, these images resonate so much with current native resurgency's voices and rhythms that the 'eye hears' them loud and clear.

They carry a hopeful message from tribe to tribe because these photographs perennially reveal the indomitable peoples who still inhabit this yet untamed North America.
We're here.


The text above by Guy Sioui-Durand, sociologist, artist, and member of the Huron-Wendat community, adds an invaluable dimension to this exhibit.

Selection of Objects (from the McCord Museum, only)

M21417.1 : The Vanishing Race - Navaho, 1904
M21417.16 : Eskadi - Apache, 1903
M21417.17 : Apache Babe, 1903
M21417.20 : Vash Gon -Jicarilla, 1904
M21417.21 : Chief Garfield - Jicarilla, 1904
M21417.28 : Cañon de Chelly - Navaho, 1904
M21417.32 : A Son of the Desert - Navaho, 1904
M21417.41 : Pima Baskets, 1907
M21417.53 : Lúzi - Papago, 1907
M21417.61 : Mosa - Mohave, 1903
M21417.76 : The Medicine-Man, 1907
M21417.78 : Two Strike, 1908
M21417.98 : Planning a Raid, 1907
M21417.127 : Winter - Apsaroke, 1909
M21417.128 : Bull Chief - Apsaroke, 1908
M21417.136 : In Black Cañon, 1908
M21417.144 : Coups Well Known - Apsaroke, 1908
M21417.150 : Bear's Belly - Arikara, 1909
M21417.165 : Arikara Girl, 1908
M21417.169 : The Land of the Atsina, 1908
M21417.175 : Atsina Camp, 1908
M21417.188 : In a Piegan Lodge, 1910
M21417.206 : Iron Breast - Piegan, 1900
M21417.207 : Piegan Encampment, 1900
M21417.208 : A Piegan Dandy, 1900
M21417.234 : A Flathead Dance, 1910
M21417.249 : Kutenai Duck  Hunter, 1910
M21417.275 : Dip-Netting in Pools - Wishham, 1909
M21417.281 : Wisham Bride, 1910
M21417.283 : Káshhila - Wishham, 1909