Jewish Artist: Deborah Anderson, Women of the White Buffalo

Deborah Anderson is a singer and songwriter from Colorado. Her album “Silence” was released in 2009. In addition to a photographic collection, she has also published a book entitled “Paperthin” (Verlhac Editions), which gave her a creative outlet for her many artistic interests.

Her latest book, “Women of the White Buffalo”, traces the women of the Lakota tribe of South Dakota. This photographic exhibition opened in Los Angeles at the Leica Gallery and is also accompanied by a film scheduled for release in the fall of 2020. It has already won seven awards, including Best Director of a Feature-Length Documentary at the Los Angeles Independent Film Awards.

The creator was fascinated by aboriginal cultures. Together with a female doctor, she visited indian reserves because of murders or disappearances of native women and she wanted to understand first hand what it meant to be a “modern native living on these reserves” and she was eager to share it with others.

Before visiting these spaces the artist did a lot of research. She realized that no one had really focused on women in Native American cultures. There she discovered how women continue to be the backbone of their tribes behind a lost matriarchy. In her grassroots approach she chose eight women of different ages to talk about their daily lives, their history in one of the poorest counties in North America.

Sharing the rituals of the tribe while seated inside the ruined trailers, she had to give up filming live at times because it would have been too descriptive and would have missed the point. She needed to shift her point of view and focus on more meaningful and “loaded” still images. Proof that the documentary technique is more complex than it seems.

The film has already become in its unofficial and commercial exploitation a means of raising awareness in private sessions in schools and museums about life in the reserves. The women in the film were taken to Los Angeles to attend the 24th Red Nation Film Festival. They can then speak to an audience and be recognized for their resilience, balance and dignity.

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