Learn more about the artist, Jeremy Dennis.
Nothing Happened Here Artist Statement
Nothing Happened Here is a photo series that explores the violence/non-violence of post-colonial Native American psychology.
Reflecting upon my own experience and observations in my community, the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton, New York, specifically the burden of the loss of culture through assimilation, omission of our history in school curriculum, and loss of land and economic disadvantage; this series illustrates the shared damaged enthusiasm of living on indigenous lands without rectification.
The arrows in each image act as a symbol of everlasting indigenous presence in each scene. The images may be as compelling if the subjects were of indigenous descent, but the decision to use non-native subjects reveals a shared burden. The question remains of how to overcome this troubled past. As we learn of early contact-period history between colonists and indigenous groups, that history sticks with us, and it is difficult not to link current predicament of power, gained or lost, with that important past.
Jeremy Dennis (b. 1990) is a contemporary fine art photographer and a tribal member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton, NY. In his work, he explores indigenous identity, culture, and assimilation.
Dennis was one of 10 recipients of a 2016 Dreamstarter Grant from the national non-profit organization Running Strong for American Indian Youth. He was awarded $10,000 to pursue his project, On This Site, which uses photography and an interactive online map to showcase culturally significant Native American sites on Long Island, a topic of special meaning for Dennis, who was raised on the Shinnecock Nation Reservation. He also created a book and exhibition from this project. Most recently, Dennis received the Creative Bursar Award from Getty Images in 2018 to continue his series Stories.
In 2013, Dennis began working on the series, Stories—Indigenous Oral Stories, Dreams and Myths. Inspired by North American indigenous stories, the artist staged supernatural images that transform these myths and legends to depictions of an actual experience in a photograph.
Residencies: Yaddo (2019), Byrdcliffe Artist Colony (2017), North Mountain Residency, Shanghai, WV (2018), MDOC Storytellers’ Institute, Saratoga Springs, NY (2018). Eyes on Main Street Residency & Festival, Wilson, NC (2018), Watermill Center, Watermill, NY (2017) and the Vermont Studio Center hosted by the Harpo Foundation (2016).
He has been part of several group and solo exhibitions, including Stories—Dreams, Myths, and Experiences, for The Parrish Art Museum’s Road Show (2018), Stories, From Where We Came, The Department of Art Gallery, Stony Brook University (2018); Trees Also Speak, Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury, NY (2018); Nothing Happened Here, Flecker Gallery at Suffolk County Community College, Selden, NY (2018); On This Site: Indigenous People of Suffolk County, Suffolk County Historical Society, Riverhead, NY (2017); Pauppukkeewis, Zoller Gallery, State College, PA (2016); and Dreams, Tabler Gallery, Stony Brook, NY (2012).
Dennis holds an MFA from Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, and a BA in Studio Art from Stony Brook University, NY.
He currently lives and works in Southampton, New York on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.