By Lisa Charleyboy
It all started in May 2008; Kwandibens was pondering the usual stereotyped images of Native peoples shown in mainstream media and she wanted to challenge those portrayals. “As an artist, I can promote a more positive image of all the diverse nations and all the different cultures that are us,” she says. “When I first thought of this series, I had goose bumps, because it made me feel so good—I was like ‘I have to share it.’ I am just going to throw this idea out there and see what happens. So I sent out a mass email about it and within 10 minutes I got three replies back.”
That’s when she knew she was onto something. Her concept was simple and open-ended: “Portraits of the urban Indian experience.”
For more on the subject, see Curtis Photos vs. Smiling Indians, Modern Indians Are Less Native?, and Photos Challenge Native Stereotypes.
Below: "Jacob Pratt walks the city streets wearing a jacket, tie and roach in a photo from Nadya Kwandibens' 'Concrete Indians' series."