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Native American Themes and Concepts Are Focus of Photography Exhibition at Ramapo College of New Jersey

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)October 19, 2005

(Mahwah) – In Search of Other Histories:  Annu Palakunnathu Matthew and Lauren Piperno, a photo exhibition that addresses Native American themes and concepts of history, will open in the Pascal Gallery at Ramapo College of New Jersey on Wednesday, November 9 and continue through December 16.  An opening reception will be held from 5 – 7 p.m. on November 9.  At 6:30 p.m. artist Lauren Piperno will give a talk; she will be accompanied by author Evan Pritchard, founder and director of the Center for Algonquin Culture in Woodstock, NY.

When asked where she is from, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew says she often has to clarify she’s an Indian from India.  In her work she looks at the other Indian.”  In conjunction with an exhibit titled Identity, presented by Sepia International, the artist said, I find similarities in how nineteenth century photographers of Native Americans looked at what they called the primitive natives, similar to the colonial gaze of the nineteenth century British photographers working in India.  In every culture, there is the ‘other.'”  Combining nineteenth century photographic representations of Native Americans with digitally altered facsimiles using her own image, Matthew creates fabricated pairings that explore the notions of originality and identity.  She is an assistant professor of photography at the University of Rhode Island.  Her work can be found in the collections of the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; and the RISD Museum, Providence, RI, among others.

Lauren Piperno’s Living History” series, of which several works are on exhibit at Ramapo College, is a work-in-progress and continues her on-going investigation of American pop culture and America’s desire to recycle events and histories of the past.  Piperno’s black-and-white Polaroid pairings of a Revolutionary War re-enactor with a powwow dancer image probes the cultural and political legacy of the historic mid-Hudson region.  This contrasting series of two cultures, two histories, and of other times, pays homage to the performers of living history, as well as the powerful foundational commonality of democratic principals shared by both the Iroquois Confederacy and the infant American Republic.  The viewer is given a glimpse of the honored traditions of both worlds and the images chosen for the exhibit pose an enigmatic and transformative perspective regarding America’s past, present and her peoples.  Piperno is a photographer and educator.  She has taught at ICP and Parsons in New York City, SUNY Westchester, NY and Ramapo College.  Her work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; the George Eastman House; and the Bibliothéque Nationale, France, among others.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Pascal Gallery is located in the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts at Ramapo College.  Gallery hours are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, 1 to 7 p.m.  For more information, call 201.684.7147.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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