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Double exposure of Izzy Smith, around 1970. MOHAI, Al Smith Collection, 2014.49.15.130.01.

May 28 – September 5, 2022

Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here

MOHAI is proud to present Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here, which features 15 photographs from the collections of MOHAI and the Black Heritage Society of Washington State (BHS).

Community curators Ella Guo, Rachel Heaton, and Jourdan lmani Keith bring their insights to historic photographs. Their selections challenge assumptions of untouched nature, explore cultural representation, and magnify the ever-changing relationship between Puget Sound populations and the region’s landscape.

“This is a unique exhibit experience that explores the relationship between humans and place, illustrated in a selection of MOHAI and BHS photographs curated by three members of the Puget Sound community—activists, poets, community organizers, and youth—who bring dramatic new perspectives to an understanding of our region,” said Leonard Garfield, MOHAl’s Executive Director.

Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here was organized by MOHAI in collaboration with the Black Heritage Society of Washington State (BHS).

Generous support for Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here is made possible by Laird Norton Wealth Management, REI Co-op, Mike Repass, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, The Norcliffe Foundation, Maureen Frisch, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the MOHAI Exhibits Fund.

Media support provided by: The Seattle Times, KCTS 9, Crosscut, and KUOW.

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Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here at MOHAI May 28, 2022 through September 5, 2022.

Photo: Double exposure of Izzy Smith, around 1970. MOHAI, Al Smith Collection

Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here was organized by MOHAI in collaboration with the Black Heritage Society of Washington State (BHS).

Perspectives on Place

Photographs selected by community curators from the MOHAI and BHS Collections

Muckleshoot Tribe members practicing fishing rights in Green River, Auburn, October 4, 1970. MOHAI, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, photo by Tom Barlet.

Guo, Heaton, and Keith chose photographs from the collections of MOHAI and the Black Heritage Society of Washington State (BHS) in response to the question, What is your view of the relationship between humans and the natural world? With the support of MOHAI and BHS staff, they pored over photography ranging from scrapbook snapshots to newspaper photography to find images that reflect their perspectives on relationships with nature, and human nature.

View of Seattle from Beacon Hill, around 1882. MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection

During your visit to Perspectives on Place, experience hands-on activities and reflect on your perspective of humans’ relationship with nature.

Double exposure of Izzy Smith, around 1970. MOHAI, Al Smith Collection

MOHAI’s relationship with this place, the Puget Sound region, is to serve as a community resource for exploring history and engaging in critical conversations.

Meet the Curators

Ella GUO (they/them)

Ella Guo is a Beacon Hill resident and a 16-year-old senior at Nova High School in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood—graduating in Spring 2022. Guo takes a social justice focus at school, working with communities and advocating for the integration of an authentic student voice within school policy. They are a photographer themselves, and occasionally serve as Youth Photographer for Young-Women Empowered, a Seattle-area non-profit dedicated to “empowering diverse young women to be creative leaders and courageous changemakers.”

Rachel Heaton (she/her)

Rachel Heaton is a member of the Muckleshoot Tribe and descendant of the Duwamish People, a community organizer, a mother, a nature lover, and an activist. Heaton speaks on the violations of Native and Indigenous peoples’ rights, finds ways to educate and bring awareness to those outside of her community, and creates visibility of Native peoples in outdoor spaces. Heaton is co-founder of Mazaska Talks an Indigenous-led organization that brings attention to the destruction of Mother Earth caused by funding and investments to the fossil fuel industry.

Jourdan Imani Keith (she/her/sir)

Jourdan Imani Keith is Seattle’s 2019—2022 Civic Poet. Featured on NPR, her Orion Magazine essays, “Desegregating Wilderness,” and “At Risk” were selected for the Best American Science and Nature Writing Anthology. The founder of Urban Wilderness Project, Keith leads its “R U An Endangered Species”™ campaign. She is a recipient of the 2018 Americans for the Arts award, and her TEDx Talk, “Your Body of Water” became the theme for King County’s 2016—2018 Poetry on Buses program.

Black Heritage Society of Washington State

Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here was organized by MOHAI, in collaboration with the Black Heritage Society of Washington State (BHS).

An institutional partnership formed between BHS and MOHAI more than 25 years ago. In collaboration with the museum, BHS is proud to support the selection of images by the community curators for the installation of Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here.

Black Heritage Society Logo

BHS was founded in 1977 with a mission to collect, preserve, and share the history of African Americans from across the region. BHS manages and maintains a large public collection of memorabilia that documents the lives and legacies of Black people who helped and continue to contribute to the vitality of Washington State. The organization’s community engagement expands beyond collections to be advocates for saving historic places in Washington State.

Exhibit Audio Descriptions

MOHAI is excited to launch a new initiative in our ongoing effort to make the museum more accessible to all visitors.

Audio descriptions are available in the exhibit as a resource for visitors who are blind or have low vision, and for anyone interested in detailed descriptions of the photographs.

This offering includes audio descriptions of select photographs and an orientation to the space on your mobile device. The audio description platform is compatible with your mobile device’s accessibility settings. Please use headphones in the gallery.

Large-print text will also be available for access in the exhibit, and digitally on a screen-reader compatible platform.
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Upcoming Exhibit Programs

Save the date for these exciting events, built to accompany the Perspectives on Place: Photographs from Here exhibit.

Education Extra | Beyond the Frame

Visiting with early learners or looking to explore photographs at home?

Come along on a journey to MOHAI, a museum filled with photographs and stories from Seattle’s past.

Join as we ask questions about what we see and wonder, and imagine the possibilities within a single photo.

Download our tips for caregivers, including a link to a curated MOHAI online collection gallery to explore more photographs with your early learner (ages 3-6) at home.

Exhibit Supporters

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