The Union Recorder

November 27, 2012

Georgia College professor’s photography uncovers Native American history


Special to The U-R

MILLEDGEVILLE — Emily Gómez, associate professor of art at Georgia College, will share her images exploring Native American culture of the Southeast and Midwest during a fall exhibition.

“Unearthed: A Photographic Search for Native American History through the Landscape” will remain on display through Friday.

“I make these photographs in order to think about those who lived here before us,” said Gómez. “The photographs accompanying text in this exhibition show viewers the locations of places that are historically significant to Native American history and culture — whether an ancient mound or former town site in Ohio or on the front campus of Georgia College.”

Sponsored by the Georgia College Department of Art, the exhibition coincides with Native American Heritage Month. Celebrated during the month of November, Native American Heritage Month acknowledges the cultures, traditions, histories and contributions of Native American people.

Gómez’s photography is part of an ongoing series she has worked on since 2003. Georgia College faculty research grants partially funded the framing and photographic materials for this exhibition.

“The project involves a great deal of historical research as I travel throughout the Southeast and Midwest to photograph places where Native American people once lived,” she said. “This series has taught me who lived here before us; how and why they died or were removed; and what we choose to remember or ignore about our nation’s past.”

Gómez teaches darkroom and digital photography at Georgia College.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in photography from Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Ill. She earned a master’s degree in photography from the University of Georgia in Athens.

Gómez is an adopted member of Santee Indian Nation of South Carolina. She also is a member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Atlanta Photography Group and Society for Photographic Education.

“As I photograph these sites, I wonder how much more culturally rich our nation would be if the Santee, Cherokee, Creek, Potawatomi, Anishinabek and other nations were not forcibly removed from their ancestral lands,” said Gómez. “Through photography, we can learn more about our nation and how to improve it by remembering the darkest parts of our past rather than by only celebrating our accomplishments.”

For more information about this exhibition, call Carlos Herrera at (478) 445-7025. Visit www.emilyjgomez.com to view Emily Gómez’s work.

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