past exhibitions

American Nile

January 29 - March 15, 2005

As you travel around the Red River Valley by car, fields of sugar beets extend in all directions as far as the eye can see. The only visual relief comes in the form of small groups of people at work weeding in the field. In July of 1995 long-time friends Tom Linfors of Chicago and Richard Faulkner of northwestern Minnesota, stepped out of their car in northwestern Minnesota and made their way into a field. Through the course of the summer they turned those human specks into people with faces and names and lives. In particular they followed Joe Campos who was three weeks old when he traveled with his family for four days in the back of a tarp covered truck from Texas to the Red River Valley. Summer after summer he migrated up to the land of the American Nile, or the Red River, sometimes attending school for brief periods, but always hoeing beets. He was married with three children when he decided to re-settle on the Minnesota side of the Valley and attend the University of North Dakota. The North Dakota Museum of Art assisted the photographers with contacts and letters of endorsement. In the summer of 1996 the Museum first opened the exhibition and every person who appeared in a picture received a copy to take home. The photographers later gave the complete photographic study to the Museum.