The Cameron University Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts is pleased to host “We’re Not Telling You Everything: Words and Images from the Wichita Mountains,” a photographic and poetic exhibition featuring the photography of Don House and Sabine Schmidt and the poetry of Sy Hoahwah. The exhibit will open on Thursday, April 25, in the Cameron University Library with an artist-led gallery walk beginning at 5 p.m. followed by an artist lecture, poetry reading and reception at 6:30 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through June 20 and will be available for viewing at no charge during the Cameron University Library’s operating hours.
"We’re Not Telling You Everything” is the result of a three-year collaboration, during which Arkansas photographers Don House and Sabine Schmidt traveled regularly to southwest Oklahoma to photograph the land and the people of the Wichita Mountains. Among the oldest but least known in North America, the mountains hold a central position in the history and lives of Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas, and other plains tribes. Fort Sill, one of the military’s largest artillery training bases, abuts the nation’s first wildlife refuge, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901. The history of the Wichita Mountains area is a microcosm of the history of the whole nation and its westward expansion. Descendants of all the players in that drama still make their homes in the shadows of the mountains.
Typically working alone, Schmidt and House decided to collaborate on this project because of the depth that it brought to the subject.
“She is a photographer, but her biography does not read like mine (getting a Brownie camera as a child, setting up a darkroom in the bathroom, and so on)”, says House. “She is a writer and translator who fell in love with the Arkansas and Oklahoma landscapes, and picked up a camera late in the game as another tool to express what she was seeing, and that gives a perspective, a freshness that is attractive and effective. While I seek out people for my subjects, Sabine avoids them and concentrates on what they left behind, what they abandoned, so we can look at the same place at the same time and produce dramatically different images. We see the world in different ways, and because of that, when we work together, the finished images tell a more complete story than either of ours would alone.”
The resulting exhibition consists of 16 classic black-and-white portraits by House that will be shown as traditional silver gelatin prints, Schmidt’s 13 digital color images of human interactions with the landscape that will be presented as archival pigment prints and a broadside of six poems by Sy Hoahwah. A member of the Comanche Nation, Hoahwah has a connection to the Wichita Mountains that spans generations. His poetry adds a more intimate and timeless layer to the photography of his collaborators.
Sabine Schmidt is an award-winning photographer, writer, and translator from Wiesbaden, Germany. After living in Hamburg, London, Memphis, and New York, she now resides in Fayetteville, Ark. She has translated books by Wynton Marsalis and Henry Chancellor and works for the German edition of National Geographic. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications in the United States and Germany. In photography and writing, her work is centered on understandings of house, home, rootedness, and wandering. She received a 2015-16 Artist Registry Award from the Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She was named one of Ten Artistic People to Watch in 2016 by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Born in California and raised in Texas, Germany, Austria, Missouri, and Michigan, Don House attended the University of Michigan and Wayne State University before being drawn to the rugged isolation and unique character of the Ozark Mountains. For 30 years, he has photographed the human and natural landscape of the region. Known for his powerful and rich black-and-white imagery, his work has been featured in publications as diverse as Boys’ Life, Backpacker, and the Wall Street Journal, and is collected and exhibited throughout the country. He has authored three books: “Buffalo Creek Chronicles,” “Not a Good Sign” and “Otto’s Great Adventure.” He lives and works in rural Washington County near Fayetteville, Ark.
Sy Hoawah’s family descends from both the Yapaituka/Penatuka Comanche and the Bad Faces band of the Southern Arapaho. Born in Little Rock, Hoahwah was raised in Arkansas and southwestern Oklahoma. He is a direct descendent of Comanche orator and principal chief Ten Bears, and of the Arapaho leader, Little Raven. Hoahwah earned an MFA from the University of Arkansas and is the author of the poetry collection “Velroy and the Madischie Mafia.” He began his career as a visual artist. He is considered both a Native American and Southern poet, as his work is heavily influenced by his Southern plains heritage.
This event is sponsored by Cameron University Lectures and Concerts, Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
April 15, 2019