Regarding the Kalahari
!Kung girl playing the //gwashi, Nambia Kung San, c. 1950–1955. Photo by Lorna Marshall. PM 2001.29.258.
The Marshall Family and the Ju/'hoansi !Kung, 1950–1961
March 18, 2004–September, 2004
Featuring 28 photographic prints and 20 stereographs from the Peabody Museum's Marshall Collection, Regarding the Kalahari examines the first chapter in the relationship between the Marshall family and the Ju/'hoansi !Kung-a relationship that has lasted over a half a century and endures still. Through the portraits of individuals, the exhibit documents the !Kung on the brink of cultural change and offers a photographic record of the Marshalls' multifaceted perspectives on the !Kung.
In 1950, Laurence Marshall, retired co-founder of the Raytheon Company, and seventeen-year-old John Marshall embarked on the first of numerous Peabody Museum expeditions to the Kalahari Desert where they encountered Ju/'hoansi !Kung, still living as nomadic hunter-gatherers. Arrangements were made to return the next year along with Lorna Marshall, an English teacher, and their college-aged daughter Elizabeth Marshall [Thomas.] For eleven years, the Marshall family-Lorna, Laurence, and their children, Elizabeth and John-documented the way of life of the indigenous Ju/'hoansi !Kung of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa. Unschooled in anthropology and in photography, the Marshalls literally trained themselves in the field. Lorna and Elizabeth conducted extensive ethnography, writing numerous books and articles.The images in this exhibit offer rich ethnographic information about the !Kung, but also invite us to contemplate how photography can frame our regard of an entire people.
Curated by Ilisa Barbash.