Every Object Has A Ritual by Selena Kearney
IN DEVELOPMENT: ANTICIPATED RELEASE NOVEMBER 2023
8 x 9 inches, ~28 color images; Board book, 48 pages; $50 plus shipping
*Limited edition* of twenty signed books SOLD OUT
Photographer Selena Kearney deftly pulls viewers into a complex dialogue through her series “Object / Ritual.” Over five years, she acquired, borrowed, and was given an array of costumes, masks, clothing, and sports fanwear that referenced Native American regalia, and stereotypes of Indigenous culture.
Photographing each in an isolated black box format, Kearney summoned her own pained curiosity, while through this visual choice offered rebuke to how sacred artifacts from Indigenous cultures have been similarly displayed as trophies in many settler museums and cultural institutions. In Kearney’s photographs, the cheap materiality of most of the objects draws attention to exaggerated associations under the guise of representing the homogenized “Indian.”
Every Object Has A Ritual will be presented in a board format commonly associated with children’s picture books, demonstrating in its physicality how cultural harm has been perpetrated in seemingly innocuous ways. Publication of this series pushes against the ongoing use of Indigenous mascots to represent national and regional sports teams, and against the sanitized language that has been eagerly embraced by mainstream settler culture to minimize the violent and manipulative histories experienced by First Nations in the formation of what is now the United States.
The signed, boxed limited edition will include a handmade element bearing protective or healing properties.
Raised on the Chehalis Reservation in the state of Washington, Selena Kearney (b. 1979) uses photography as a tool to serve her community, and as a vehicle for artistic expression, a practice rooted in kinship, relationality, and representation from her experience as an Indigenous person.
Kearney holds a Certificate in Fine Art Photography from Photographic Center Northwest, and is a candidate for a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Evergreen State College. She is the skipper for the elder-led canoe family from Suquamish, Spirit of the Raven, and works and lives in Seattle, Washington.