Photographer Tom Jones has a unique perspective on the Ho-Chunk people of Wisconsin, the subject of his exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. The Professor of Photography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, is himself a full-blooded member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
Opening today, Here We Stand consists of more than 100 images, from the conceptual to the abstract to augmented documentary. Consisting of a dozen or more series, it’s what the artist calls “a continuing photographic essay.”
Historically known as the Winnebago Tribe, the Ho-Chunk (“People of the Big Voice”) originated in the Red Bank Region of Wisconsin. Today, there are approximately 10,000 Ho-Chunk citizens living in the state’s five tribal districts, and scattered throughout the United States and the world.
For Jones, who grew up in Orlando and went to graduate school in the Chicago area, applying his art to his heritage was organic.
“When I was younger, I would look in books and try to find anything that was Winnebago,” he said during a Friday preview of the exhibit. “I’d go into the index and look, and there was nothing. So throughout life I’ve wanted to bring my people to the world. Am I’m able to do it with my work.”