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Sherwin’s ‘Vanishing Points’ promotes Indigenous land rights

VanishingPoints Book

WVU associate professor Michael Sherwin turned his long-term photography project focused on Indigenous American presence into a book titled “Vanishing Points.”

Vanishing Points began when Sherwin learned a local shopping center was built upon an 800-year old sacred burial ground and village site associated with the Monongahelan culture. 

Since that revelation nearly a decade ago, Sherwin has researched and photographed sacred landforms, earthworks, documented archaeological sites and contested battlegrounds throughout the United States.

“This work can promote awareness of Indigenous land rights and the importance of protecting cultural and historical sacred sites,” Sherwin said. “Spending time with these images may encourage one to reconsider their own physical presence in this country and the ancestry of the land they live and work on.”

Vanishing Points is a hardcover, 172-page book which combines large format landscape images with smaller still lifes of objects and debris collected at the sites. It includes essays by Sherwin, Josh Garrett-Davis and Kristen Rian. 

Sherwin combined the photographs in Vanishing Points to operate as literal and metaphorical vanishing points - reflecting on the monuments modern culture will leave behind.

“I hope this work will connect with those who believe that this land and our planet are all we really know,” Sherwin said. "Living with greater respect for all life and cultures can promote a better community and help build a place where we can all belong.”

Vanishing Points can be pre-ordered and will be released in the United States on July 6.