Romero uses photography to show modernity of Native peoples

Photography exhibition to open spring semester at MSU’s Harvey Art Gallery

The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery at Midwestern State University has opened the spring 2022 semester with an exhibition by photographer Cara Romero. The exhibition, “Cara Romero: Mythos and Sub-Pop,” opened Jan. 10.

A reception with gallery talk will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28.

Romero is an enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe and was raised between contrasting settings: the rural Chemehuevi reservation in Mojave Desert, California, and the urban sprawl of Houston, Texas. Romero’s identity informs her photography, a blend of fine art and editorial photography, shaped by years of study and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and her experiences from a Native American female perspective.

As an undergraduate at the University of Houston, Romero pursued a degree in cultural anthropology but was disillusioned by academic and media portrayals of Native Americans as bygone. 

She realized that her photography could do more than anthropology did in words.

Romero’s works have been informed by formal training in film, digital, fine art, and commercial photography. By staging theatrical compositions infused with dramatic color, Romero takes on the role of storyteller, using contemporary photography techniques to depict the modernity of Native peoples, illuminating Indigenous worldviews and aspects of supernaturalism in everyday life.

Romero maintains a studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and regularly participates in Native American art fairs and panel discussions. She was featured in PBS’ “Craft in America” in 2019. Her award-winning work is included in many public and private collections internationally. Married with three children, she travels between Santa Fe and the Chemehuevi Valley Indian Reservation, where she maintains close ties to her tribal community and ancestral homelands.

The exhibition will be open through Feb. 25. Call 940-397-4264 for more information.