Matika Wilbur, one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading photographers, has exhibited extensively in regional, national, and international venues such as the Seattle Art Museum, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, The Tacoma Art Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France. She studied photography at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Montana and received a bachelor’s degree from Brooks Institute of Photography in California. Her work led her to becoming a certified teacher at Tulalip Heritage High School, providing inspiration for the youth of her own indigenous community.
Matika, a Native American woman of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes (Washington), is unique as an artist and social documentarian in Indian Country- The insight, depth, and passion with which she explores the contemporary Native identity and experience are communicated through the impeccable artistry of each of her silver gelatin photographs.
She is currently working on Project 562, a national documentary project dedicated to photographing contemporary Native America. The 2010 U.S. census shows approximately 5.2 million Native Americans living in the United States; and despite the cultural, economic, and political variety/progression of Native Americans several misleading and stereotypical images dating back to the nineteenth century still prevail at large. Project 562 (the first undertaking of its kind) will dramatically change that. Matika is gathering original photographic images and oral narratives from all Tribal communities throughout the United States, organizing and presenting compelling portraits and stories from elders, culture bearers, linguists, teachers, activists, artists, professionals, and other contemporary Indians. As Matika explains, “My goal is to represent Native people from every tribe. By exposing the astonishing variety of the Indian presence and reality at this juncture, we will build cultural bridges, abandon stereotypes, and renew and inspire our national legacy.”