Sacred North American Landscapes

Having been exposed for over 150 years to pictures depicting Indians as unruly and ruthless warriors who ride in the plains, as “sorcerers” who sing and dance in healing rituals, or as warrior chiefs posing between the camps of conical tents, at first glance Beasley’s photos may leave us bewildered before a desert landscape, desperately in search of recurring landmarks that, due to Hollywood film, we take for granted and automatically attribute to a stereotypical figure that we never questioned or grasped in its complexity and cultural, spiritual and historical depth.
Douglas Beasley has in fact made a choice: the images that are part of the project Sacred Sites of the Lakota Indians in the Blackhills and Badlands of South Dakota, to which most of the photos on display here belong, depict “just” natural places, such as mountains, trees, skies, or wind and storms, or places of worship or contact with spirits, such as circles of medicine, sudatory huts, pieces of cloth or flags tied to the branches of the trees…
In doing so, Douglas Beasley has chosen to honour North American Indians, depicting what is most sacred to them and what best expresses their values and spirituality: a landscape that is sacred because their ancestors lived there, because it was handed over by their ancestors and, above all, because it represents the ancestors themselves.