Chip Thomas

January 6, 2000 - January 29, 2000

Minnie moving the sheep and goats through Navajo Creek
May 1995

Image © Chip Thomas

Homemade glasses, homemade canoe, Lake Malawi
1993

Image © Chip Thomas

Laughing man at the barber shop, Lodwar, Kenya
1998

Image © Chip Thomas

The problem with South Africa
August 1993

Image © Chip Thomas

Chip Thomas

For over 10 years, Chip Thomas has worked as an Indian Health Services doctor for the Navajo nation in Arizona. He describes his work as difficult yet rewarding and his black and white images reflect a decade of experiences, of relationships with the Navajo people, and of their day to day explorations of life. In 1992 Thomas took a break from his work in Arizona to be the team physician for a 12,000 mile cycling expedition from the northernmost to the southernmost point in Africa. This show also includes personal black and white images documenting the people and cultures he discovered on this incredible 9 month journey.

The Big Picture…. If the world were a global village of 100 people, one third of them would be rich or of moderate income, two thirds would be poor. Of the 100 residents, 47 would be unable to read, and only one would have a college education. About 35 would be suffering from hunger and malnutrition, or at least half would be homeless or living in substandard housing. Of the 100 people, 6 of them would be Americans. These 6 would have over a third of the village’s entire income, and the other 94 would be subsist on the other two thirds. How could the wealthy 6 live in peace with their neighbors? Surely they would be driven to arm themselves against the other 94… perhaps even spend, as Americans do, about twice as much per person on military defense as the total income of the two thirds of the villagers. Taken from a sticker sent to me by a friend a few years ago.

 The Little Picture…

Everybody wants the same thing. Don’t they?

Everybody wants a happy end.

They want to see the game on Saturday.

They want to be somebody’s friend.

 

Everybody wants to work for a living.

Everybody wants to keep their children warm.

Everybody wants to be forgiven.

They want shelter from the storm.

 

Look at me. I ain’t the enemy.

We walk on common ground.

We don’t need to fight each other.

What do we need? Solidarity.

 

By Steven Van Zandt

Performed by Black Uhuru

 

These images explore the ways people from different backgrounds pursue fulfillment and, in the process, define what it means to be human.