Rapheal Begay is a photographer and curator from the Navajo Nation. His photographic series, A Vernacular Response, is a photographic series that represents everyday moments and diverse aspects of the Navajo Nation. In support of the visual legacy of the Diné way of life, the documentation of environment creates a moment that celebrates and interrogates its source of creation. Furthermore, it is the preservation of the Navajo people and the serendipitous nature found within the everyday; art as experience. In line with self-determination and visual sovereignty, A Vernacular Responsecontributes to a never-ending Diné past, present, and future.
As a form of contemporary Navajo storytelling, the series also acts as a (re)collection of intimate moments tied to my own understanding and relationship to my surroundings. In practice, the series of images activates Indigenous perspective, imagination, and life. As a photographer, I choose to document the cultural landscape so as to honor our place in the world so that we may understand connection in new ways.
Educators may incorporate contemporary Indigenous art and culture into school curriculum so as to inform and inspire understandings of acceptance, diversity, and collaboration. Students may learn about identity, informed by one's home community and culture, as visual art.