Fazal Sheikh (born 1965) has spent his career photographing individuals and communities displaced by conflict and environmental change. Acclaimed for his intimate portraits, Sheikh collaborates closely with his subjects to better understand and share their stories. This exhibition features Sheikh’s newest body of work, Exposure (2017–22), as well as an earlier series, Erasure (2010–15). To make Exposure, set in the American Southwest, Sheikh worked closely with the Utah Diné Bikéyah Native American grassroots organization to examine the human and environmental costs of the exploitation of public lands. The expansive landscapes seen in the series pay homage to the spiritual significance of the land, while portraits and collected testimonies reveal the ongoing but often invisible effects of environmental racism, especially on Indigenous inhabitants. In Erasure, Sheikh presents aerial photographs that record the effects of cultivation, displacement, and climate change on the Negev Desert in southern Israel; the series also includes poignant portraits that put a human face to the struggle of Palestinian Bedouins to remain in villages slated for demolition.
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Exhibition made possible by generous support from Jane P. Watkins, M.P.H. 1979. Organized by Judy Ditner, the Richard Benson Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media, with Isabella Shey Robbins (Diné), PH.D. candidate in History of Art and American Studies at Yale, and with the assistance of Yechen Zhao, the Marcia Brady Tucker Fellow, Department of Photography. Additional assistance provided by Royce K. Young Wolf (Hiraacá [Hidatsa], Nu’eta [Mandan], and Sosore [Eastern Shoshone]), the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Associate in Native American Art and Curation and Yale University Presidential Visiting Fellow.