Local photographer and documentarian Kirti Bassendine will present her latest exhibition, “Contemporary Indigenous Voices of California’s South Coast Range,” from Aug. 17-27 at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.
The project showcases photography and short films of elders and culture-bearers from tribal nations, councils and communities along California’s Southern Coast Range: the San Francisco peninsula, East and South Bay through the Santa Cruz mountains, Monterey Bay, Gavilan and Santa Lucia Mountains, and lower Salinan Valley.
Bassendine’s photographs are accompanied by personal statements from Native community members calling attention to cultural connections to the land; rematriation: restoring the relationship between Indigenous people and their ancestral land; and ecological and climate breakdown.
The exhibition includes photographic portraits, personal statements and short films, to be shown at multiple venues around the region. Each exhibit will be opened by a reception where project participants will share their stories, demonstrate and hold a Q&A panel discussion around issues raised by the exhibit.
An opening reception will be held Aug. 19 from 2-5pm at the museum, 705 Front St. in Santa Cruz.
“Through this exhibition, we aim to convey the rich tapestry of indigenous heritage, their deep connections with the land, and their significant cultural contributions,” Bassendine said.
Participating Indigenous Cultural Groups are Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, Confederated Villages of Lisjan, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, Tamien Nation, Indian Canyon Mutsun Band of Costanoan-Ohlone People, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Rumsen Ohlone Tribal Community, Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, and the Salinan Tribe of San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties and Salinan T’rowt’raahl tribal community.
This project has been possible with the assistance of her small team, Rishi Burr for technical knowledge in videography, film editing and practical photoshoot assistance; and David Bassendine in helping frame the project vision and questions, research, website creation, copy writing and practical photoshoot assistance.
The exhibit will later be on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco beginning Oct. 7.
Bassendine was born in Kenya and emigrated to England at a young age, graduating with BA Honors in Fine Art Photography from Derby University, UK. In 2019, she presented the multimedia exhibit, “Homeless Voices,” at the Gilroy Center for the Arts.
For information on “Contemporary Indigenous Voices of California’s South Coast Range,” visit santacruzmah.org/exhibitions/contemporary-indigenous-voices.