Jeremy Dennis, an indigenous artist who was raised and continues to work on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, has a compilation of his photographs showcased in a new solo exhibition. His works will be featured at Suffolk County Community College’s Flecker Gallery on the Ammerman Campus from Thursday, February 8 through Thursday, March 15. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, February 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. with refreshments.
“Nothing Happened Here explores the violence/non-violence of postcolonial Native American psychology,” remarked Dennis. “Reflecting upon my own experience and observations in my community, the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton, New York, specifically the burden of the loss of culture through assimilation, omission of our history in school curriculum, and loss of land and economic disadvantage; this series illustrates the shared damaged enthusiasm of living on indigenous lands without rectification.”
Dennis’ large-scale photographs offer a fictional narrative that flips the historical script. His work is inspired by his experiences of the myriad challenges of contemporary indigenous life.
“Jeremy Dennis’ large-scale photographs presented in this exhibition and catalog offer a fictional narrative that flips the historical script,” remarked Matthew Neil Gehring, Director of The Flecker Gallery. “Dennis’ work is borne of his experiences of the myriad challenges of contemporary indigenous life. These images are intended to arrest the viewer and transport the audience into the role of the subjects – unsuspecting, fatally pierced; injured out of nowhere. This bit of shock is necessary and purposeful.”
The photographs are intended to arrest the viewer and transport the audience into the role of the subjects. Themes of Dennis’ Shinnecock heritage and patriarchal society will arise in his works as well. There will be an accompanying full color catalog to the exhibition.
“The arrows in each image act as a symbol of everlasting indigenous presence in each scene,” informed Dennis. “The images may be as compelling if the subjects were of indigenous descent, but the decision to use non-native subjects reveals a shared burden. The question remains of how to overcome this troubled past. As we learn of early contact-period history between colonists and indigenous groups, that history sticks with us, and it is difficult not to link current predicament of power, gained or lost, with that important past.”
The Flecker Gallery at Suffolk County Community College is located at 533 College Road in Selden. For more information, call 631-451-4093 or visit www.sunysuffolk.edu.