A central theme of If Not Us Then Who’s work is supporting indigenous communicators and young storytellers with their work, from edit training to commissioning films. Film however is not always the main medium; many storytellers are using the power of word or still images to share their messages.
In New York during Climate Week, we hosted Our Village: convening a cultural hub, and immersive experience, bringing indigenous peoples, communities of color, and grassroots voices to the forefront of the UN Climate Action Summit.
As well as workshops, and film screenings, there was also a photography exhibition showcasing the work of four indigenous photographers.
To make sure as many people are able to see, admire and reflect on these stories; this post is dedicated to Nura, Mara, Edgar and Fresly. Scroll down to see their artistry and their messages, we also encourage you to follow them directly on their social media channels.
An indigenous artist, working out of Indonesia. Nura started working on indigenous issues in 2000, in that same year she began to actively manage community radio and deliver training on community radio management for local communities, photography has always been a passion of hers, and she has used this tool to document the communities she continues to support.
“For me being an indigenous photographer who covers these issues means a lot, I have a deep feeling and close relationship with indigenous peoples. Photography can support story telling on these indigenous issues, I can tell the world through my photographs about the daily life of these people, their struggles, and their culture.”
Facebook – Nura Batara Instagram – @nurabatara
Twitter – @nbatara
Mara is an indigenous Embera artist, based in Panama, within the community of Piriari Embera, she is part of a collective called Dji Ta Wagadi, of which she is the president. The organisation is commited to leadership through traditional governance, it’s focused on involving the youth within this movement.
Mara remarks on her practice: “ Through photography I find the means of visibility, of beauty, importance; what’s more, the urgency to reconcile with the worldview of our ancestors. Expressed in traditional designs that remind us of the need for balanced coexistence with our mother earth.”Mara goes onto say: “Piriari Embera is a community that in a form of resistance is opening up spaces of incidence through culture. We know that our culture is closely linked to respect for mother earth. By revaluing our identity and cultural empowerment, we are ensuring a harmonious and environmentally balanced future.
Facebook – Dji Ta Wagadi
Instagram – @djitawagadi
Artist Edgar Kanaykõ belongs to the Xakriabá indigenous people, State of Minas Gerais. He holds a matsers degree in Anthropology from UFMG. He works in the area of ethnophotography: “a means of recording aspects of culture – the life of a people.” Through his lens, a photograph becomes a new tool of struggle, enabling others to see with another look what an indigenous peoples are…
Facebook – @kanayko.etnofotografia
Instagram – @edgarkanayko
You Tube – Etnovisão – Edgar Kanaykõ
Artist Fresly Coleman Alejandro is based in Nicaragua and uses his practice to document indigenous peoples lives along the Caribbean Coast. He informs us of these communities relationships with the landscape, lands, their lives, struggles ,and their cultures. He uses photography and video extensively and enjoys these mediums.
He is a community leader, and witnesses violence and oppression regularly against the many communities he documents, the issues of sanitation along the coast within these communities and land rights also inform his work. He recites a member of a community saying “ now men are crying for their lands, one day you’ll not be eating if you dont have a piece of land”
Fresly feels emotional and angered at times by what he witnesses:“I will always be available and accessible to these territories I work with”
Twitter – @freslycc2019
Thanks to Joel Redman for working with Nura, Mara, Edgar and Fresly, curating these images and preparing them for exhibition in New York.