Hood Museum of Art presents exhibition of photographs by Cara Romero

“Zenith” by Cara Romero

“Zenith” by Cara Romero Courtesy

Published: 12-19-2023 5:00 PM

The Hood Museum of Art will present the first major solo museum exhibition of photographs by Chemehuevi artist Cara Romero, titled Cara Romero: Panûpünüwügai (Living Light). The exhibition will be on view at the Hood Museum from Jan. 18 through June 21, 2025, and will feature over 50 works, including several never-before-seen photographs, and site-specific installations that will invite the viewer behind the scenes to experience the sets of Romero’s most iconic photographs.

An exhibition catalog co-published by the Hood Museum of Art and Radius Books will be released in June 2025. The exhibition is curated by Jami Powell, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Indigenous Art at the Hood Museum of Art.

Says Romero, “The Hood Museum of Art under the leadership of curator Jami Powell and director John Stomberg is an excellent example of how an American museum can create meaningful and positive impacts on Native community, representation, and living artists. When offered my first major solo show to commence at the Hood, I cried because I never imagined this was possible for a Native woman photographer in her 40s. I am so honored to collaborate with this institution and the people making it a major force in sidelining preconceived notions about Native American art.”

Adds Powell, “Cara Romero is an immensely generous storyteller, and her images invite people into complex and transformative dialogues about the histories and lives of Indigenous peoples. Romero’s photographs provide opportunities for two audiences to recognize the humanity of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples and ask questions they might otherwise be afraid to ask.” 

Romero, of Inglewood, CA, is an artist known for dramatic fine art photography that examines Indigenous life in contemporary contexts. An enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Romero was raised between contrasting settings: the rural Chemehuevi reservation in Mojave Desert, California, and the urban sprawl of Houston, Texas. Informed by her identity, Romero's visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences results in a blending of fine art and editorial styles. Maintaining a studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Romero regularly participates in Native American art fairs and panel discussions and was featured on PBS’s Craft in America in 2019.

Her award-winning work is included in numerous public and private collections, domestically and internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, Amon Carter Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and Forge Project Collections, among others. Romero travels between Santa Fe and the Chemehuevi Valley Indian Reservation, where she maintains close ties to her tribal community and ancestral homelands.