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About the Exhibition

Indian, artist, advocate, educator


July 23–October 9, 2022

MOWA | West Bend

For over twenty years Tom Jones, or to use his Ho-Chunk name ChakShepSkaKah (White Eagle), has devoted his photographic skills creating a visual record and exploration of his tribe’s members and culture.

Born in North Carolina, Jones studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia College in Chicago and has been on the faculty of the former since 2005. He now makes his home in Prairie du Sac, giving him a close physical and spiritual connection to traditional Ho-Chunk lands.

This bond is vital for Jones because while influenced by white photographers such as Edward Curtis (1868–1952) and Charles van Schaick (1879–1942), and Native American Horace Poolaw (1906–1984), his mission is to give visual expression to his Native—specifically Ho-Chunk—identity, from the vantage point of an insider. In his numerous targeted series of images, he accesses many different techniques and even uses materials and approaches beyond the realm of photography, such as the application of beads in a manner that is respectfully referential as well as aesthetic.

Ever mindful of his mission—the purpose as well as the nature of his work—Jones is careful about what he shares as an artist and what he keeps private as a fully enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation with a seat in the Medicine Lodge. He charts a careful path—a documentary photographer, an advocate, an educator, an artist, but always an Indian first. His retrospective at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, which features 120 images from fifteen projects that span Jones’s career, is the artist’s first major retrospective exhibition.


Top: Tom Jones, Raymond Goodbear (from the “Strong Unrelenting Spirits” series), 2019 (detail)
Left: Tom Jones, Dorothy Crowfeather (from The Ho-Chunk People series), 1999

Support for this exhibition
generously provided by

Additional support provided by 2022 exhibition sponsors

James and Karen Hyde

RDK Foundation

Thomas J. Rolfs Family Foundation

Media Sponsor