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Washington Receives Documentary Photographs By Cherel Ito

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The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) recently acquired 34 documentary photographs by Cherel Ito. The two suites of works are from Ito's North American travels—one, from 1968, of Mississippi and the Ozarks, and the second, from 1968 and 1980, of various American Indian Nations. Photographs by Cherel Ito: Recent Donations to the Collection is on view at NMWA through May 25, 2008.

"Ito's black-and-white photographs offer a chronicle of one woman's journey to expand her humanity. This generous donation by the artist's mother, Mimi Feldman, is an important contribution to the museum's growing collection of documentary photography," said Susan Fisher Sterling, NMWA Deputy Director and Chief Curator.

For more than thirty years American photographer Cherel Ito (1947–1999) traveled throughout five continents, "seeking not just to look at her fellow humans, but to meet their eyes." She marveled at their differences, appreciated their similarities, and regarded her camera as a repository of stories and memories. Her aunt, Lani Hall Alpert, noted that her camera was like her fifth appendage—she rarely saw Ito without it.

Cherel Ito's early career centered on photography and writing. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, the International Center for Photography in New York, and Amherst College in Massachusetts. In 1975, Cherel married composer Teiji Ito, and her creative interests expanded to include experimental and performance music as well as documentary filmmaking. She traveled extensively with her husband, seeking opportunities for photographic excursions. They worked together on many projects, including the documentary The Divine Horseman: The Living Gods of Haiti (1985), which explored ritual Haitian voodoo ceremonies. --

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