New exhibition featuring Indigenous women
Oct. 4, 2022
A new exhibition at the Lisa Sette Gallery called “Illuminated Lives” showcases portraits of Indigenous women, who are disproportionately affected by violence and homicide.
Gallery Owner Lisa Sette and Benjamin Timpson, photographer of the exhibition, explain the intricacies of the exhibition.
The portraits in the exhibition are made from butterfly wings, with aspects of contemporary and historical portraiture. They are all of Indigenous women.
Of these women, “many have been murdered, abused, are missing. But there are also several survivor portraits in the show as well,” Sette said.
Timpson started this project because his family was affected by domestic abuse. He had been working with butterflies previously on a light table. He chose this as the symbol for the Indigenous women because it represents metamorphosis, rebirth, hope and rejuvenation.
“I realized all through grad school that they were always telling me to focus on something that was relatable to you, focus on your own story. I never really thought about that and then it kind of clicked within five minutes. It was a major epiphany moment at the light table. And I put the pieces together with my cousin, my family and other women to tell that story and raise awareness,” Timpson said.
Timpson attains the personal photos he uses from families who give him their blessing.
“The historical root of it was really important for me when I was looking at the portraits. But they’re beautiful, I mean, we talk about the very difficult history behind them, but they’re really beautiful to see,” Sette said.
Timpson does this to raise awareness and to establish an image that the family members and people around them can carry forward. When people look at these photos, empathy is created and a beautiful cycle of healing is set in place, according to Timpson.