By Chevi Rabbit, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Keegan Haze is an Edmonton-based photographer originally from Samson Cree Nation. His photography will be prominently exhibited in the Mino-Pimatisiwin: Reclaiming the “Good Life” Exhibition, in partnership with the Exposure Photography Festival 2022.
Haze’s artwork, titled Dance with me ‘till sunset – features Maskwacis models and couple Chrissy Nepoose and Dustin Stamp – was selected by the curators of the exhibit.
Mino-Pimatisiwin runs from February 2-26, 2022 in Calgary at The GRAND, a prominent venue that showcases world-class artistic works and provides a multi-functional event and theatre space for the Calgary community.
According to Haze, the photoshoot team worked all day – until sunset – with powwow dancers Chrissy Nepoose and Dustin Stamp. That is where the name of the project stems from – Dance with me ‘till sunset, he said. The couple danced all day to get the perfect shot.
Haze is very pleased to be included in the exhibition. “It’s quite amazing to be selected for someone who is just starting out,” said Haze. “I was really hesitant about submitting because nothing really good happened. So, this was mind-blowing for me. I’m so excited to see what comes from this.”
He explained that the image tells a love story, but it also shows that when Indigenous people come together GREAT THINGS CAN HAPPEN. He said the participants in the shoot are a great power couple and he wanted to show through photography the greatness he saw in them.
“We had a vision in mind and we were able to execute the project,” said Haze. “So, the photos really came out great and we went in with good intentions.”
Haze is a transgender Indigenous person. It is part of who he is as an artist but for this project he was recognized for his work foremost.
“Being transgender male plays a huge role in my life and the way I see things,” he said. “I’m all about equality and loving people for who they are. I’m about peace and love. I don’t seek out trouble or anything like that.”
Haze came out as transgender when he was 19 years old. “At the time I was presenting as a female back on the reserve,” he explained.
Haze is a transgender male – from female to male. He said that he has been transitioning to male over the last five+ years. He is passable as male and it’s been a long journey of self-discovery on his gender identity.
He said growing up as a transgender male within a First Nation was difficult but overall he overcame a lot of adversity. “I’m loving my life now. I’m happy with who I am. I learned to accept myself and love where I came from (Maskwacis).”
He explained that it was hard back on the reservation because he was unsure about his identity and gender back then. He says that on the reserve being transgender was looked at very differently by some members but it has gotten much better since then in terms of community acceptance and awareness.
“When I go back out to my community it’s nice because people are more open and accepting now,” said Haze.
The Exposure Photography Festival’s programs of exhibitions present a broad range of works, including photojournalism and photocollage, abstract and politically engaged photography, and works that embrace social and individual experience, as well as visual explorations of identity and personal narratives.
For more details check out the website: www.exposurephotofestival.com
For Keegan’s socials:
Photography Page: Keegan Haze
Tik Tok: Keeganha