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Faces of Resistance: Through the Lens of Ilka Hartmann

Faces of Resistance: Through the Lens of Ilka Hartmann

Photograph,  Grebe victim of the San Francisco Oil Spill,  January 18, 1971, Photographer: Ilka Hartmann. Copyright Ilka Hartmann.

Photograph, Grebe victim of the San Francisco Oil Spill, January 18, 1971, Photographer: Ilka Hartmann. Copyright Ilka Hartmann.

While the San Francisco Haight-Ashbury neighborhood attracted thousands of young people searching for peace, love and community during the Summer of Love, other social justice movements were gaining traction in the wake of the turbulent Civil Rights and Free Speech movements of the early 1960s. Ilka Hartmann arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area from her native Germany in 1964. Initially a student of theology, she took a photography class that re-mapped her dedicated, life-long path as a photographer. In the 1960s Hartmann found herself at the epicenter of the Anti-War and Social Justice movements at UC Berkeley. From this juncture, she launched her 53-year career as a photographer and activist, chronicling major social justice events, and personalities.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to explore connections between movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s and social justice movements today. The exhibition features photographs and personal items from Hartmann's own collection. 

Notable personalities and events captured in photographs in the exhibition include: Huey Newton, the Black Panthers, Kathleen Cleaver, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Dennis Banks and the American Indian Movement, the Anti-war movement, San Francisco LGBT marches and parades in the early 1970s.

Ephemera also on view includes: protest flyers, original Black Panther newspapers and manuscripts, a beaded cross necklace worn by United Farm Worker marchers, and an original, handwritten speech written by Dennis Banks at a 1979 No Nukes Rally in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Ilka Hartmann's work has been exhibited widely, including locally at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Oakland Museum of California, and in permanent Bay Area displays focused on important people and events. On Alcatraz Island her photographs are shown daily in a film about the Indian Occupation of the island. Her work was also exhibited internationally in Berlin and Hamburg, at URBIS in Lancaster (England), in China and Brazil.

Her images have been published in Der Spiegel, Encyclopedia Britannica, the Oxford Dictionary, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Smithsonian Handbook on the North American Indian series and other books, newspapers and magazines. Her photographs are included in films and television programs shown in the United States, Canada and Europe. Among her books are The Town that Fought to Save Itself (with Orville Schell,) a story of Bolinas in the 1970s; Pearson, A Harbor Seal Pup (with Susan Meyers;) and books on the Indian occupation of Alcatraz, Native American life and the Black Panthers. Hartmann lives in a small community on the Northern California coast.

Faces of the Resistance: Through the Lens of Ilka Hartmann is generously supported by The Borgenicht Foundation.

The Borgenicht Foundation works to promote the understanding of secularism as the way and hope for establishing peace in the world. In addition, the Foundation supports social justice, conservation and historic preservation, the arts, health, and education.

More information including high res images for download may be found on our Press Resources Page.  Read press coverage for the exhibition on the NUMU in the News page. Sign-up to receive our Press Releases.