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'Response' art exhibition spans continents, cultures

September 19, 2008
Irish artists’ reflections on century-old photographs of American Indian life in Arizona form the basis of the “Response” exhibition, Oct. 1-23 at Arizona State University’s West campus.

Twenty-four printmakers from Northern Ireland created individual artworks based on their responses to The Schwemberger Photographs, an archival collection housed at ASU that is currently on display in the United Kingdom. The Schwemberger collection comprises nearly 2,000 glass plate negative photographs taken by Brother Simeon Schwemberger of the St. Michaels Franciscan Mission near Window Rock. Dating from 1902 to 1908, the photos depict American Indian people, places and daily activities common to early 20th century life in the Navajo and Hopi communities of Arizona and New Mexico.

“The Schwemberger collection is receiving major international attention,” says Robert Taylor, a professor in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and curator of the “Response” exhibition. “The fact that two dozen artists from across the Atlantic were inspired to respond to Brother Simeon’s work shows the significance and emotional impact of the Schwemberger photos.”

“Response” features 24 prints, each 16-by-24 inches, representing a range of techniques including etching, screen-printing, lithography, calligraphy, photo-intaglio and relief prints. These new art prints were recently shipped from Belfast and framed at ASU’s West campus for the October exhibition.

“Response” opens Wednesday, Oct. 1 with a 6:30 p.m. reception at the New College IAP Art Gallery, on the second floor of the University Center Building at ASU’s West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix.

The exhibition will be on display through Oct. 23. For Gallery hours, call 602-543-ARTS (602-543-2787).