Le bleu du ciel, a contemporary photography center in Lyon, is presenting a group exhibition called The Way Back, dealing with with Native Americans in the American West, with photographers Stéphane Barbato, Robert Alan Packard, Carlotta Cardana, Marion Gronier, Stephanie Keith, Guy le Guerrec and White Eagle. The work presented also includes that of Marie Baronnet, The New Pathfinders.
This work shows evidence of the rebellious and inventive activism of the Navajos, ahead of the social and ecologic conscience of the Western world surrounding them, facing the obscurantism that will lead the world to its fall. In this community committed to the fight against coal mining and the power plants burning it, there is tensions between the Anglo and Navajo cultures and the forging of a hybrid identity, intrinsic of the Southwest.
The white man projects its fantasies onto Native Americans, and mass tourism is its image. Tourists shooting pictures, trampling sacred land, curious about this Native American mythology but indifferent to the singularity of the indigenous individual, and only barely conscious of the climatic dangers that are threatening them, since it threatens us all.
The territory and its symbols are my treasure map. Up and down, I survey and discover the reserve, becoming familiar with its new and ancient cultures, Navajo and Hopi, which cover this human and natural geography beyond all frontiers or demarcation lines.
I am discovering another Native American.
In the collective unconsciousness, he is poor and unfortunate, this idealized being that intrigues us, victim of the crimes and wrongdoings of history.
Today, on his land, he is the original and active catalyst of this country in need of continuation.
The Indian reserve is an unexpected bastion of harmony for the future in the heart of an America that wastes and consumes itself with brutality.
The New Pathfinders, on the path to peace, shows the way for humanity to take care of the land that carries it, whether it be the reserve where they live in Arizona or our collective Earth.
Marie Baronnet is a French photographer. She splits her life between France and the United States.
Marie Baronnet, The New Pathfinders
From November 30, 2017 through February 24, 2018
Le Bleu du Ciel
12 Rue des Fantasques