The Gaye Watkins Report: Dignity

Photo: Steven B Ekerovich
Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Sonja Nuttall (Creative Director of
Urban Zen), Nick Gruber

Donna Karan hosted the launch party for Dana Gluckstein’s photography book “Dignity”
at the fashionably chic, Urban Zen Center at 711 Greenwich Street New York.  With supporters of the book ranging from Desmond Tutu to Calvin Klein, is it any wonder that guests would want to be present to support  photography which urges attention toward the rights and cultural nuances of indigenous peoples across the world. Dana’s hope is that she has captured a certain part of history in the world. According to her indigenous people “..are the soul and spirit of who we are.” in a film about Ms. Gluckstein’s travels, titled “A Lifetime Journey”, Dana photographs and helps to explain why and how she wants to photograph them. A voiceover of Ms. Gluckstein states that her work “was about the world of the elders. And that she was drawn to those “who have a certain light”.  “I try to create an authentic moment and that its all about being present.” While shooting her subjects she said she found a “collision of cultures and “people in transition.”  She believes that mostly, the demise of indigenous peoples is also an invention of the west and that’s where we have to start.”. Donna Karan spoke of her wanderlust for traveling and meeting cultures unfamiliar to her own. She is soon to travel to meet with Aboriginal people.  Bob Orr UN Assistant Secretary-General said to guests,”I see on the walls We Are The People” and that more of us here and abroad need to see the indigenous as people,… open our hearts and minds and allow the indigenous peoples of the world to speak for themselves.’’ The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has not yet been endorsed by the US government and as Bob Orr points out, many rights of indigenous people are impeded due to concerns over land use or ownership.

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