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Natalie Diaz: Self-Portraits | Beyond the Frame

October 6 at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Much of the foundational imagery and contemporary, often-stereotypical understanding possessed by white America about Native Americans comes from the work of Edward S. Curtis, the Seattle-based photographer who undertook a decades-long ethnographic survey of Native culture in the turn-of-the-century. Documenting some 82-plus tribes, Curtis, a non-Native, left behind a controversial legacy.

On the 150th anniversary of Curtis’ birth, award-winning poet Natalie Diaz visits Hugo House to recast the conversation around Native identity through Native voices while examining futurity and the image. Diaz’s poetry, including in her collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press, 2012), is steeped in the mythology and cultural history of reservation life, often examining memory’s role in human identity.

Tonight, Diaz will present a series of self-portraits and share work written in response. Throughout, she’ll discuss the process of creating both the portraits and the text, as well as the overall conversation between image and text. After the presentation, questions from the audience will be welcomed.


Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program. She splits her time between the East Coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.


This event is presented as part of a series of exhibitions, Beyond the Frame, which is a community initiative throughout 2018 revisiting the photographs of Edward S. Curtis and sparking conversations about Native identity, race and resilience, art and culture. Learn more at beyondtheframe.org.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.