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The Kennedy Center

Artists Featured in Book

Kent Klima

Photo of Kent Klima

Kent Klima began his youth as a musician playing trumpet, but after his head injury, holding the trumpet proved difficult, so he pursued another interest, photography.

"It seems to artist is artistic no matter what medium they work in," he says.

"Among photographers, there are a whole lot of musicians. It's interesting to me, because music is an organization of different sounds, and photography is an organization of light. When you do music, it exists just for that moment... A photograph is more permanent."

Kent set his talents to documenting Native American artists with diabilities on the Cheyenne River, Rosebud, and Pine Ridge Sioux Reservations stretching across South Dakota. The "In Their Own Place" collection was accomplished in a two-week photographic marathon in the summer of 1997. It has been exhibited by VSA arts Nebraska.

Because reservations are sovereign nations, the American's with Disabilities Act doesn't apply. Consequently, people living on reservations face many unusual difficulties, such as a lack of ramps providing them with access to buildings and other public venues.

"What I wanted when I did the book was to make the world more aware of what is or is not happening on the reservations... Because of my accident, I could empathize with what those people "In Their Own Place" were experiencing... I used to do landscapes, but now I'm more into portraits. You're more involved with people when you do portraits."