"Indigenous Faces of Wilmington shares the faces and tells the stories of diverse indigenous people who live in our city and represent rich cultures and roots. My hope is that this exhibition will open a dialogue to re-introduce, re-discover, and re-educate individuals about the many cultures represented here in Wilmington today," says Iz Balleto, the DelArt Community Engagement Specialist who conceived of the project. Balleto’s connection to the project is personal --- he is a Peruvian native of the Quechua Indians of the central Andes who are direct descendants of the Incas. “I look forward to this powerful exhibit, which will bring light to many who reside and live among us today.”
Indigenous Faces of Wilmington aligns with DelArt's major summer exhibition, In Conversation: Will Wilson. Diné (Navajo) photographer Will Wilson's art explores the legacy of historical representations of Native people. The exhibit will include photographs Wilson takes in Delaware this spring, of Lenape and Nanticoke community members, through his Critical Indigenous Photography Exchange. The exhibition is guided by an Advisory Committee made up of indigenous and community leaders. Associated programming includes a Pow Wow of Arts and Culture on July 23 and a storytelling program titled "My Land, My Roots" on September 8.
“For many years we, Indigenous People, have carried stereotypes, carried hurt, and carried fear. It’s time to change the narrative and share the beauty,” states Balleto.
Andre’ L. Wright Jr.’s photographs embody the essence and heart of indigenous people in Wilmington. This exhibit is his tribute to culture and indigenous ancestors. The representation of diverse indigenous individuals in art can help break barriers, bring forth unity, and open mindfulness.
Participants of the Indigenous Faces of Wilmington exhibit include India Colon Diaz (Taína of Boriken Nation of Puerto Rico), Rosa Ruiz (Aztec), El Indio (Boricua Taino), Jose Avila Macias and Susana Amador Hernandez (Chichimeca), Olakunle Oludina (Seminole and Cherokee), Abundance Child (Cherokee, Lumbee, Muscogee/Creek), Andre’ L. Wright, Sr. (Cherokee) Sharon L Street Wright (Nanticoke), Jea Street (Nanticoke), Jonathan Whitney (Nanticoke), and Ashanti Morales (Arawak Taína of Boriken).
Organizer and Sponsors of the exhibit include photographer: Andre’ L. Wright Jr. of Color of Life Branding; Creative Director Sara A. Crawford of The Original Coloure Collective; additional support provided by Art Bridges, the Museum Council, and the Delaware Division of the Arts.